MCACC taking action after dog dies of bacterial infection

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control said Saturday that a dog in their care died due to Streptococcus zooepidemicus at their Mesa shelter.

Mary Martin, the director of Maricopa Animal Care Centers, said there is one confirmed case. Three other dogs have also died at the shelter and have been tested for the bacteria. All of those dogs tested negative.

MCACC said the following Friday that all dogs at the Mesa shelter have been vaccinated for strep zoo and any showing symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are being treated with antibiotics.

However, Martin said they are taking the diagnosis very seriously.

[RAW VIDEO: MCACC speaks about dog that died at Mesa shelter]

The shelter has since reopened all playgroups. They were closed when after the first dog tested positive. MCACC said playgroups are essential for the dogs to be able to get out and stretch and clear their minds from the shelter environment.

Martin said adoptions will continue with information provided to adopters. 

"We have not shut down adoptions as of yet because we've only had one case. And because we feel it's immensely important that we do everything we can to address the shelter population as a whole. The number one thing we can do for that is move animals through our system rapidly and to place them in homes," said veterinarian Leo Egar.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Critter Corner]

MCACC held a press conference Sunday morning to let the community know the bacteria is here so local veterinarians can be aware.

Jose Santiago, public information officer for MCACC said these cases are treatable but that stressful environments such as shelter living make the situation worse for the animals. 

According to Martin, Two Pups Wellness Fund has agreed to pay for treatment and the Arizona Animal Rescue Mission will pay for transportation of animals if the Mesa shelter needs to be shut down.

MCACC is asking fosters to use caution and is telling the public not to bring dogs to the Mesa shelter. 

Egar said healthy home pets are not in danger and that he does not recommend avoiding dog parks because the disease is seen in shelter dogs who are stressed from living in community housing.

"You almost can't get this disease if you are a normal, healthy home pet dog," Egar said.

The west Valley shelter located at 2500 S. 27th Avenue in Phoenix is still open for animal surrenders. Both shelters are open for adoptions. The Mesa shelter will resume its normal adoptions on Saturday, Feb. 3.

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