BARC Houston temporarily closed after 'unusually' high presence of illness, case of distemper

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- BARC Houston's animal shelter will temporarily be closing due to an "unusually high presence of upper respiratory illness and confirmed case of distemper."

The shelter announced on social media that it closed Sunday, July 4 through Monday, July 12.

"BARC animal control and bite case investigations will continue, and during the closure, BARC will take in sick, injured or fading animals. BARC's foster clinic will remain open, but services will be limited to drive-through only. BARC will reach out to partners and customers to reschedule existing appointments and events for all other services," BARC wrote.



The shelter said it recently impounded seven dogs that had been exposed and possibly infected with distemper. Since then, BARC said it has confirmed one positive case of distemper. It added it isolated the remaining dogs that have been exposed and are waiting on test results to determine if additional precautions are needed.

During its closure, BARC said it will do the following to care for the sick pets and prevent further spread within the shelter:

  • Identify, isolate, and treat infected animals
  • Carefully monitor healthy but exposed animals for future symptoms
  • Ensure that no animals are placed into the community until they are without symptoms or past the incubation period
  • Conduct a deep cleaning of the shelter to reduce further contamination


Distemper symptoms may include thick nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing and, in severe cases, may affect the neurological system, causing seizures, tremors, and death.

BARC added that if you adopted your dogs from its shelter and they show potential distemper symptoms, you're encouraged to contact the shelter for free medical treatment. BARC will also refund adoptions fees and accept returned animals from those who are unable or unwilling to care for potentially sick animals.
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