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Buyers beware: Dog breeder violates quarantine

MADISON - Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warned Sept. 5 that several dogs of varying breeds were released from a dog breeding facility located at 955 and 957 Gale Drive in Wisconsin Dells licensed to William Myers.

The premises was quarantined June 28 after dogs tested positive for brucella canis, commonly called brucellosis, an infectious disease that causes illness in dogs and sometimes in humans.

"Seven puppies that we are aware of were removed from the property after the quarantine order was issued," said Yvonne Bellay, DVM, program veterinarian at DATCP. "Anyone who has purchased or otherwise received a dog from the Myers premises should be aware of the quarantine and the disease that the dog has potentially been exposed to, especially if the dog is intended for breeding purposes."

Bellay urges dog owners who may have received or purchased a dog from the Myers property since June 28 to contact Jeff Hare, Compliance Officer with DATCP Division of Animal Health, at 608-224-4900 and should have the dog tested by a licensed veterinarian.

Bellay also advised that buyers may have done business with Myers' associate, Sharon Richards, who may also use the name Sharon Lambrecht.

Brucellosis is transmitted by the mating of infected males and females and causes infertility in both genders. An infected female usually appears healthy with no signs of disease or indication that she is a carrier. She can spread the bacteria in several ways but most commonly through the act of breeding.

Once pregnant, the bacteria will also infect the developing litter. Litters are commonly aborted, usually in the last two weeks of gestation, or the puppies may die shortly after birth. An infected male can also spread the bacteria via urine and semen.

Humans become infected by coming in direct contact with an infected dog or with the dogs' fluids that are contaminated with these bacteria.

Symptoms in humans may include fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur. Brucellosis can also cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue.