SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A state-ordered quarantine was lifted Friday at the Little Paws pet store on Payne Road after all dogs in the store tested negative for a potentially life-threatening illness.
Liam Hughes, director of the Maine Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Program. announced in a late afternoon, two-sentence news release that the ban on sales and bringing dogs in or out of the store owned by Barbara Shaw Cross was lifted.
Hughes did not respond to a question asking if a second positive test for parvovirus in a puppy at the store might have been a false positive result.
State veterinarian Christine Fraser said store staff was cooperative during the extended quarantine.
They “are taking advantage of this time to make improvements to their facility,” she said in a news release.
The quarantine was ordered Feb. 1 after a husky puppy sold at the store was diagnosed with parvovirus at Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital. The puppy, which died Feb. 2, was taken home by Julie Thomas of Madison, N.H., on Jan. 23.
The quarantine required 23 puppies in the store to be tested and treated for parvovirus and giardia, conditions that affect canine intestinal tracts. Fraser said the store’s veterinarian discovered the second case; her office has not received any new reports of parvovirus or giardia in puppies sold and released by the store.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, parvovirus is a contagious virus first found in canine feces and vomit. The virus can live in an environment for months and can cause dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea.
The incubation period for parvovirus is usually between three and 12 days. Dogs can be immunized and are most susceptible to infection between the ages of 6 and 24 weeks.
The discovery of the second case and extension of the quarantine brought renewed protests against the store at 456 Payne Road last Saturday, led by members of Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills.
The group has protested conditions at the store and the purchase of puppies from large-scale breeders. Last summer it unsuccessfully sought a town ordinance against retail sales of puppies from those breeders.