By LINDSAY OLIVIER
EXETER â€“ If you or anyone you know adopted or fostered a dog from Ryanâ€™s Hope Rescue in Richmond during a dog adoption event at the Exeter Animal Shelter on Jan. 29, the department of environmental management (DEM) believes you should contact their veterinarian immediately, especially, if their dog is displaying symptoms associated with the parvovirus infection.
Symptoms of the virus include vomiting, diarrhea, depression and fever. While it cannot be transmitted to people, it can easily be passed between dogs, especially in puppies and dogs that are not vaccinated.
The Department of Environmental Managementâ€™s Division of Agriculture and Law Enforcement began investigating Ryanâ€™s Hope, an unlicensed animal shelter ran by Gina Brown-Parra. DEM learned that the rescue league wasnâ€™t issued an animal shelter license as required under Rhode Island General Law so, on Jan. 29, DEM issued an order to cease and desist.
â€śWe also learned that she placed as many as 20 dogs in new homes at that event,â€ť said DEM representative Gail Mastrati. â€śMany of the dogs in her possession she picked up as strays in South Providence, Providence, Cranston and Coventry.â€ť
On Jan. 31, Richmond Animal Control officers took possession of two dogs that appeared to be sick from Brown-Parraâ€™s residence. Shelater said that those two dogs were picked up as strays.
According to Mastrati, one was a German Shepard puppy she found in Providence, which appeared very lethargic. The puppy tested positive for Parvo on Jan. 31 and eventually died from the infection.
The second was an adult Boxer picked up in Coventry that had bloody diarrhea. It tested negative for the virus and was treated and released.
As soon as DEM learned of the Parvo positive pup, they requested Brown-Parra provide contact information for all the people that received dogs from the adoption event.
â€śWe attempted to contact all of the people that Ms. Brown-Parra indicated had received dogs from her,â€ť added Mastrati. â€śNone of them reported any illness in their dogs.â€ť
DEM also issued a quarantine for her residence to monitor the rest of the dogs in her home, including her own. After the quarantine was lifted, the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) took possession of all the dogs, except the five that belonged to Brown-Parra.
Anyone who is from the areas where the strays were picked up who is missing their dog is asked to call their local animal control officer.
â€śThe purpose of getting this information out is to notify the public of a potential exposure to an infectious disease of dogs and to attempt to reunite dog owners with their missing pets,â€ť Mastrati said.
Calls placed to Brown-Parra went unanswered.