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Scarborough pet shop for sale after 2nd quarantine

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Scarborough pet shop for sale after 2nd quarantine

SCARBOROUGH — A Payne Road pet shop slapped with its second quarantine in six months, and facing the threat of new public protests, is for sale.

Little Paws operator Barbara Cross said she and her partner, Jamie Nonni, decided to put the store on the market after the state, for the second time since Feb. 1, placed a 15-day quarantine on their sale of puppies.

The quarantine ordered by the Maine Animal Welfare Program of the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry went into effect Monday, July 29, after a 9-week-old pug-shar pei mixed-breed dog bought July 22 by Tina Bark of Westbrook tested positive for parvovirus.

Department spokesman John Bott said sales by Little Paws will be prohibited until tests show no puppies have the easily transmitted virus that attacks the canine intestinal tract and possibly the heart. 

Bark claims Sophie, the dog she bought for $1,300, was infected with parvovirus before she took it home from Scarborough. She said she will join "puppy mill" protesters Saturday, Aug. 3, outside the store at 456 Payne Road.

Bark said Sophie became ill July 25, and she was misled by store employees who initially said the dog was bred locally. Sophie remains isolated at an emergency veterinary clinic in Portland, and Bark estimated her care will cost as much as $8,000.

Cross on Wednesday said she is unconvinced the test result is not a false positive that can occur after a dog is vaccinated against the virus, and had offered to take over caring for Sophie if Bark relinquished ownership.

Sophie was bred by Lonewolf Kennels in Iberia, Mo., Cross said. She called the kennel "one of my favorite breeders."

Bark said she refused to take Sophie back to the store for care. She said the test results cannot be a false positive because Sophie's vaccination was a day before she began showing symptoms.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, the incubation period for parvovirus is three to 12 days. The virus is transmitted through dog feces and vomit, or the hands, feet or clothing of someone who has come in contact with the virus.

Virus symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, fever and blood-streaked diarrhea.

Cross said it's possible the store could be sold to the people protesting its operation and procurement practices. She said she went through a second round of cleaning and refinishing store surfaces, floors and ventilation this week to ensure conditions are sanitary.

Cross has operated Little Paws, once known as Pawsitively Pets, for a little more than a year. In February, a 15-day quarantine was placed on sales after a husky puppy bought by Julie Thomas of Madison, N.H., on Jan. 23 tested positive for parvovirus a week later. The puppy died Feb. 2.

The first quarantine order was extended through the end of February by state veterinarian Christine Fraser when a second dog tested positive for parvovirus.

Cross said incidences of parvovirus at Little Paws are less frequent than those  reported at animal shelters, and said she has sold more than 600 dogs in a year.

Bark said she was unaware of the store's February quarantine.

"Next time, I will know never to go to a pet store,” she said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.