• Dog infected with bacterial disease transferable to humans, public health investigating

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    The Seattle-King County Department of Health is investigating an illness affecting a local puppy – and the illness is also transferrable to humans. 

    In August, a vet with the Department of Health was contacted by another doctor who said a female Havenese mix dog purchased in King County tested positive for Brucella canis.

    Brucella canis can be contacted through human contact with dogs, with about 100-200 human cases reported annually nationwide, veterinarian Dr. Beth Lipton wrote in court documents. But she also wrote the number of cases is likely underreported due to nonspecific presentation of the disease and lack of readily available lab testing. 

    “Manifestations of the disease in humans are frequently non-specific, and may include one of more of the following: fever, fatigue, headache, weakness, malaise, chills, sweats, weight loss, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and lymphadenopathy,” Lipton wrote.

    It is unclear where the affected dog contracted Brucella canis. Lipton has requested breeding and sales records from a Renton pet center, and court documents indicate staff there have not been forthcoming with requested information. State law requires the public to cooperate with public health authorities during investigation of cases. 

    “Public Health’s main objection is to determine of there is an ongoing risk of infection with Brucella canis to people through zoonotic transmission from dogs” acquired at the pet center in Renton, Lipton wrote. 

    Fairwood Pet Center gave the following written statement to KIRO 7 through Mindy Patterson of the Cavalry Group.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Fairwood Pet Center, Inc. is a Member of the Cavalry Group, the nations’ largest advocate for animal enterprise and animal ownership. Fairwood Pet Center has asked the Cavalry Group to respond to the press on their behalf.

    A dog from Pierce County that was sold 2+ years ago by Fairwood Pet Center has developed Brucelossis Canis which is a canine disease primarily transferred by sexual contact.  The dog in question has been privately owned and housed in Pierce County for the last 2+ years and Fairwood has no control over the exposure of the dog to potential diseases since its purchase over two years ago.  According to the Center for Disease Control, there are different versions of Brucellosis, however, Brucellosis Canis which is dog related is rarely contractible by or dangerous to humans.

    Even though it has been 2+ years since the sale of the dog in question, King County Health Department has requested information from Fairwood regarding the breeder of this specific dog.  King County requires sales records to be kept and available for inspection for 1 year from sale and King County has not elected to inspect such records which have been available at Fairwood.  Fairwood and representatives from the Cavalry Group have been discussing providing the breeder information to King County even though there is no evidence of the disease at Fairwood Pet Center or at the breeder’s facility in question which is not in King County jurisdiction. 

    Notwithstanding King County’s refusal to provide actual evidence of the dog’s diagnosis to Fairwood or Fairwood’s veterinarian team, King County Health Department representative, Dr. Beth Lipton has elected to pursue legal action in Superior Court of Washington/King County in an effort to compel disclosure of the breeder’s private information even though not required by County Regulations.  King County has not filed any claims against Fairwood for non-compliance with County Regulations,

    Fairwood will make every effort to comply with any appropriate legal determination, however we would caution King County and the media that any unfounded or false accusations made against Fairwood Pet Center or the breeder in question resulting in damage to their businesses will be met with appropriate legal action against those parties.

    Fairwood Pet Center, Inc. is a legal business which meets and exceeds regular inspection standards, providing the best possible care and conditions for its animals.  Fairwood Pet Center, Inc. is licensed by USDA and is in good standing with all governmental entities regulating their operations including King County. 

    The Cavalry Group legal team is fully prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our clients' reputation and business against false defamation. 


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