(WWSB) - Earlier this week reports on Canine Distemper swarmed social media after pet owners are being urged to vaccinate their pets before entering DeSoto Park.
ABC7 contacted Pinellas County Animal Services to clarify about a release from the county stating raccoons at the park tested positive for the virus recently.
The release was issued by their Marketing and Communications department last week about the incident.
We asked the following:
What date did you ask pet owners not to bring puppies or unvaccinated dogs into the park?
- At the time of the media release, the recommendation was issued to dog owners about entering the park with their pets. We highly recommend that all dog owners have their dogs vaccinated regularly for bordetella, distemper, and parvovirus if they frequent any public areas with their dogs. For ALL dog and cat owners in Pinellas County a current rabies vaccination and county license are required.
- Pet owners can still access and utilize the park, but should only frequent any dog park if their dogs are up to date on their vaccinations for the protection of their pets. Puppies, old dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems should not utilize the park unless you speak with your veterinarian to ensure they are properly protected.
Will you require vaccination papers from the pet owners to allow entry for dogs in the park?
- There will not be any verification of vaccination for dog owners to utilize the park. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure they are taking proper precautions.
“We ask that dog owners do not allow their dogs to interact with any wildlife, especially raccoons. If a visitor sees a raccoon in the area and it appears to be sick or lethargic they should avoid contact and inform a park ranger of the location,” PCAS stated.
The park is not closed to dogs, but the advisory is to only utilize the park if your dogs are vaccinated. Puppies, old dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems should not utilize the park unless you speak with your veterinarian to ensure they are properly protected.
For more information please contact Pinellas County Animal Services at 727-582-2600.