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I-Team Investigation Prompts Fort Worth City Council To Look Into Animal Shelter

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Scott and Julia DeGrant say when they adopted Toby the day before Easter from the Fort Worth Animal Shelter, they had no idea he was sick.

But the very next morning, they say he was diagnosed with pneumonia and had to be admitted into the ICU for two days.

Four days later, they say their vet diagnosed Toby with distemper.

Julia DeGrant says, “We were devastated. I think I immediately burst into tears. We thought it was a death sentence.”

The DeGrants watched our story Tuesday night. “We just looked at each other in disbelief.”

MORE: Citizens Demand Action After Some Dogs Adopted From City Shelter Die Of Distemper

MORE: Dogs Adopted From Fort Worth Animal Shelter Died Of Distemper

Their dogs are among the ten profiled by the I-Team that were either adopted or rescued from the Fort Worth Shelter that have come down with distemper, a fast-spreading neurological virus.

Rescue groups claim most of the dogs pictured on this banner, 30 of them, have died from distemper after they were rescued from the shelter.

Now, as a result of the I-Team investigation, the city council will get a full briefing on the matter from the shelter’s veterinarian and the code compliance director next week.

Mayor Betsy Price says the city will also meet with rescue groups and concerned citizens.

The Mayor says, “When someone’s that upset, obviously, they always say where there’s some smoke, there’s some fire, so we want to meet with them, and hear their concerns, and we want them to hear our side of it also. The shelter is a good shelter, and does great things. We don’t want anybody to be afraid to adopt from our shelter.”

The shelter says it doesn’t knowingly adopt out dogs with distemper, and that every dog is vaccinated against it.

Last night, the council got an earful from people like Deborah Danilow, who says she’s recently rescued nine sick dogs from the city’s shelter.

Danilow told the council members, “I have one dead dog, rescued April 9th, dead April 23rd from distemper. Two very sick dogs diagnosed with distemper, and four showing symptoms of uri/distemper now. That’s seven out of nine dogs in two weeks.”

Scott DeGrant says, “I’m glad the council is hearing about it, I’d like there to be something done, so this doesn’t continue happening to people. It’s a horrible disease for dogs, and it affects people negatively as well. Our lives have been turned upside down.”

From the beginning, the shelter has denied there’s been a distemper outbreak here.

But the city now acknowledges since last September, it knows of eight dogs that came down with the disease after either being adopted or rescued from here.

In that same time period, the city says more than three thousand dogs have been rescued or adopted from the shelter.

The city is in the process of raising private money to build a medical ward at the shelter next year.

Mayor Price says city council member Sal Espino wants to consider building another shelter as part of the city’s upcoming bond election.

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