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Central Missouri Humane Society in need of a new shelter, still not taking new dogs


The Central Missouri Humane Society is still not able to take in new dogs after diagnosing another case of canine pneumovirus last week.

Canine pneumovirus is a highly contagious virus among dogs, similar to a cold among humans, according to Amie Burling with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. She said it's not transmissable to humans or cats, and most dogs only take a few days to recover.

"It can spread very quickly among dogs, especially when a lot of dogs are in a small area together, like at the shelter," Burling said.

The College of Veterinary Medicine provides veterinary care to CMHS, and diagnoses and treats dogs with the illness. The shelter has been battling the virus since this summer, and CMHS Associate Director Michelle Casey said the almost 50-year-old building that houses the shelter isn't helping the problem, either.

"Unfortunately, in our current building, we don't have a dedicated isolation area, so there's really no good way to separate the healthy population from the sick population," Casey said. "So, that has caused some issues and has definitely contributed to the pneumovirus hanging around a little longer than we hoped it would."

Casey said they have outgrown their space and there is no room around their current building to expand. But on top of this, the current shelter is a safety hazard with black mold and asbestos.

A hole in the ceiling at the Central Missouri Humane Society.
Photo [courtesy CMHS]

"The walls are crumbling, the ceiling's caving in," Casey said. "This summer, we had the ceiling cave in two times, and one of the times it went all the way through the roof."

She said there are multiple sites being looked at for the potential new location, and they have been told it will cost between $8 million-$10 million to complete.

A rendering of the new shelter. [Photo courtesy CMHS]

She said the shelter is currently looking to large donors in the community, and once they have received more funds, they will then open up fundraising to the general public. She said the shelter welcomes anyone looking to come view the state of the building.

"We're to the point where at some point in the near future, it's not going to be usable," Casey said. "So, we're hoping that we can raise these funds and get these large donations in as soon as possible so that we can start construction and hopefully break ground next year."

The shelter contracts with the City of Columbia to give them cage space for the city's Animal Control, and Casey said they hope the city will help with funding, as well.

Casey said there are currently 44 dogs at the shelter, and another 13 being fostered. The shelter won't take new dogs until they have gone two weeks without a new diagnosis of the virus.

Signs of canine pneumovirus include coughing, runny nose, fever and low appetite. Brumley said pet owners don't have to be too concerned, but should call their veterinarian and keep their dog away from other dogs, if they notice their pet experiencing any symptoms.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
humane society

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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