The Iredell County Animal Shelter is making major protocol changes after more than 20 dogs were euthanized. Several showed signs of distemper, a contagious and often deadly neurological disease.
"It's very sad. Any time you have euthanize a dog, it's sad," shelter director Chris Royal said.
But Susan Boyle with Lake Norman's Animal Rescue said the shelter should have vaccinated the dogs for distemper as soon as they arrived, instead of waiting for them to get adopted. She said seven people were reimbursed their adoption fees, after their new pets had to be put down.
"I'm more saddened by the heartbreak of people in the community that had to spend money on dogs that there was no way to save," Boyle said.
Eyewitness News took a tour of the facility, which Royal said has been disinfected to eradicate any trace of the disease, which she believes spread through the air.
She's not exactly sure how the virus got into the shelter, but from now on, every dog that arrives will be immediately vaccinated. The change will cost Iredell County about $1,200 a year.