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Homer Animal Shelter temporarily closed due to parvovirus case

The outside of the Homer Animal Shelter on March 13, 2024. The shelter closed following a positive parvovirus case.
Jamie Diep
The outside of the Homer Animal Shelter on March 13, 2024. The shelter closed following a positive parvovirus case.

The Homer Animal Shelter closed Tuesday after a dog tested positive for canine parvovirus, or parvo.

Alaska Mindful Paws manages the city’s only animal shelter and currently houses three dogs. Shelter director Jillian Rogers said she picked up Pete — the infected dog — from Kenai Peninsula Animal Lovers Rescue last weekend. At that time, Pete was exposed to puppies with the virus.

Rogers said Pete developed symptoms on Tuesday, and the shelter shut down to prevent spreading the virus.

“Parvo is extremely contagious,” she said, “so it spreads by direct and indirect contact with dog feces, which means dogs can carry it around on their paws. It stays in the kennel. It's resistant to heat, humidity, cold. It can live dormant for years and then pop back up again.”

Shelter staff have separated all three dogs and vaccinated the ones that have been around Pete. They also strengthened their disinfecting practices. As of Wednesday afternoon, Rogers said Pete’s condition has improved and is cautiously optimistic about his recovery.

During its closure, the shelter is postponing its low-cost vaccination clinic scheduled to run on March 14. The shelter is also contracted with the city to work with the Homer Police Department as animal control officers, but Lieutenant Ryan Browning said not to bring animals into the shelter at this time.

“For now, we're just asking people to leave the critters alone, and you know, if they have to, to just shelter them at home until they can find the owner until we get back open,” he said.

Browning said people can contact the shelter as a last resort to find potential options. The shelter expects to reopen in about two weeks if Pete's condition improves and the virus doesn’t spread.

Parvo symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Vaccines can also lower the risk of getting the virus. If you think your dog has the virus, Rogers recommends bringing it to a veterinarian.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.