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County reopens dog adoptions after virus scare

Open your heart to a dog. It's permitted again.

Hillsborough County Animal Services is reopening dog adoptions at 9 a.m. today, about a month after halting the process because of a distemper scare.

About 100 dogs that were being monitored and treated for symptoms similar to distemper have been moved out of the shelter, agency spokeswoman Marti Ryan said. They are residing at private animal rescue shelters.

"Sometimes it's a good idea for them to recoup - if they are ill or exposed - in a calmer, cleaner facility," Ryan said.

All dogs at the Animal Services shelter, 440 N Falkenburg Road, have been vaccinated since veterinarians began to notice symptoms of distemper, an airborne virus affecting a dog's respiratory, intestinal and nervous systems that is often fatal.

A handful of the dogs appearing to be unaffected will be ready for adoption today, Ryan said.

Cats were not affected by the adoption freeze and are still available.

For information, call (813) 744-5660 or visit www.hillsborough