The Pratt Area Humane Society shelter has avoided the diseases that have recently caused other shelters to put animals in isolation or put them down.

The parvovirus and distemper have hit shelters in other parts of the country but PAHS has had neither disease and animals are doing well.

"We have had no disease activity for a long time," said shelter Manager Sandy Scarberry.

Every animal that comes into the shelter automatically gets a parvovirus injection and a distemper injection. If the animal is old enough, they will also get a heartworm treatment as well, Scarberry said.

Cats get vaccinations as well. Cat diseases the shelter looks for are leukemia, heartworms and feline AIDS. None of these diseases have been a problem at the shelter.

All animals, especially new ones, are watched closely. If a dog starts coughing, it is taken to a veterinarian immediately and the shelter follows the prescribed protocol.

Dogs are known to get "kennel cough" when in a shelter. That also has not been an issue but if it did occur, the dog would go to the veterinarian and it would be put in isolation for 10 days.

Cats also have an isolation area when they get sick.

The shelter is working hard to upgrade the facility and make it a more efficient and healthier place to keep animals.

One project that has been fulfilled is the installation of new dog kennels that provide a safer and healthier environment for the dogs.

Whereas the old kennels were just large mesh wire that provided only a wire separation between dogs, the new kennels have a side panel between dogs as a protective barrier.

The new kennels are also longer and have a unique moving panel at the end of the pen that can be raised so the dog can have a longer kennel when the opposite side is vacant.

The panel can be raised and lowered from outside the kennel so employees don't have to enter the kennel itself.

Half of the pens have been replaced and the shelter is working on getting the other kennels replaced as well. It will cost about $30,000 to replace the remaining pens but it will help improve the facilities even more.

The cat facilities have also been upgraded. The former cage room by the front door entrance has been transformed into a big play area for the cats.

The cages have been removed to another room and a new flooring material has been installed. New metal climbing trees have been installed and the cats now have the complete run of the room and enjoy it much better than before.

The cats spend a lot of time looking out the window that overlooks the hallway entrance and seem to really enjoy the freedom, Scarberry said.

To help raise funds for the shelter, a garage sale is planned for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Genesis Center at Oak and Blaine. Donations for the sale can be made from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 18 at the Genesis Center. Donations can also be made at the shelter.

Besides garage sale donations, the shelter can always use cleaning products, 30 gallon and 13 gallon trash bags, laundry and dish soap, dishtowels, wash clothes, area rugs, dog and cat treats and toys. Cash donations are also welcome. No dog or cat food is needed.

Volunteers to help at the shelter and people to adopt the animals are always needed as well.

The current shelter was opened in 2008. It can house up to 28 dogs with 12 cats in the playroom and an additional 14 in cages. For more information contact the shelter at 672-6777. Shelter hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, closed Sunday. Appointments are available at any time at 620-450-5041.