SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – The San Francisco SPCA has warned Occupy SF protesters of a possibly fatal virus being spread among dogs who run free at the downtown encampment in Justin Herman Plaza.

Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, Co-President of the San Francisco SPCA, said three puppies were being treated at SPCA’s veterinary hospital for parvovirus. The virus discovery was made during a free vaccine clinic offered Monday.

Each is 3 to 4 months old: “Hope,” a Shepherd mix; “Willarou,” a border collie; and “Lucille,” a Labrador mix are all very sick and hooked up to IVs for rehydration and medicine, Scarlett said.

Parvovirus is highly contagious and spread by dogs’ fecal matter. It causes vomiting and diarrhea and can be deadly, especially for puppies.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Scarlett said the virus can live in the soil for months. “So we have a population that is under a great deal of stress, living outdoors. Loud, unvaccinated, nutritional status questionable, that are just sitting ducks, you might say, for this disease.”

SPCA officials believe there are many more dogs who have contracted the virus but their owners may not have taken advantage of the free clinic Monday because of a distrust among the campers of dealing with authorities.

“We have 3 confirmed, and how many did we miss? How many didn’t show up at our vaccine clinic?” said Scarlett. “How many just caught the disease yesterday – and will be clinical tomorrow? That’s what really keeps me up at night worrying about the animals down there.”

There were also dogs at the camp that showed symptoms of two other diseases: kennel cough and giardia, said SF SPCA spokesperson Krista Maloney.

The parvovirus can be contained with antiviral vaccines and humans are not threatened by any exposure – but giardia, another contagious disease that causes diarrhea, can be passed to humans said Maloney.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (18)
  1. Kodiax says:

    Im all for protesting against the criminal excesses of wall street. BUT. subjecting pet dogs to the stress filled life at the encampments is little short of cruelty to animals and a serious risk of lawsuit over their behaviour around crowds.

    1. s.f. peaches says:

      I agree completely, Kodiax. Domesticated animals are forced to trust their caregivers, and when we have pets we should always consider how our actions affect them. This isn’t changed by the fact that we have causes we believe in. Pets give us one hundred percent of their love, and we owe the same in return.

    2. jose anguiano says:

      is only logical this guy [with the dog] and anyone there are in great danger protesting peacefully for all to have a better legacy to our young and future americans and also the most valued more than any other thing in the life of a good and real american true to his conviction the freedom to choose his own! freedoms this guys are heroes in my book of fairness if it does not make any sense to you is cause you do not understand ok.

      1. jose anguiano says:

        even if what you said goes against any good all american i have to defend your right to express your self even! if that is not the way i think.i do not want to be a matrix!

  2. pyeatte says:

    Natures way of “thinning out the herd”. It’s almost like looking at a Medieval society where filth and pestilence prevails.

  3. X-tourist says:

    Great advertisement to promote tourism… bring you and your pet to SF. Looks like SF is promoting better for worse than Oakland. Great job city officials!

  4. Cynthia says:

    Not Deadly To Humans!!!

    “The parvovirus can be contained with antiviral vaccines and humans are not threatened by any exposure – but giardia, another contagious disease that causes diarrhea, can be passed to humans said Maloney.”

    Media out to scare the population???

    1. Dale Norbeck says:

      the public should be scared of stuff like this. what part of contagious disease isnt make clear to you . take off your conspiracy hat long enough to see the world around you.

  5. tn says:

    @ k: Could it be the little green men in your closet or have they move under your bed?

  6. abbey says:

    YOU are one sick puppy. Rather that YOU croaked of some disgusting disease contracted at this filth ridden site. You sound like you belong there.

  7. boin106 says:

    Oh yeah…it’s a national and global plot by the FBI and DEA against your dog! And…they specifically targeted your dog! I believe that…

    Actually it is the domestic terrorists in the “Occupy” camp.

    1. jose anguiano says:

      that is only propaganda to influence you and the great majority of american people the police,fbi,polititians or representatives are only other victims of the establishment BUT they have the right to refuse an order to atack an other citizen of the people that they represent just remember wich representative is on the side of the constituent that put him there in the first place if he or she do not do what we expect from them we just vote them OUT!

  8. Hilarie Kelly says:

    These dog diseases are nothing new and are routinely found in pets of non-OWS folks. Just ask any veterinarian. This “news” story is misleading in the way it is written, perhaps intentionally, to cast a negative light on OWS. Typical disinformation.. If authorities are so concerned about these diseases then they should propose an on-going and far-reaching campaign to diagnose and treat them everywhere. There were many homeless, working poor, and even middle class and rich pet owners who were not vigilant about these diseases way before OWS. Kudos to the vets who are prepared to actually go out there and help. Pointing fingers of blame solely at OWS folks is not valid veterinary medicine or public health policy.