"There were animals that were brought in that were sick and quarantine procedures were not followed," said Sheila Cook, president of the board of Safe Harbor Animal Rescue of the Keys, which operates the shelter under a contract with Monroe County.
Bentley said it appears a Labrador mix the shelter took in from Dogs on the Move, a Miami rescue group, was the animal that spread the kennel cough. It's been diagnosed with pneumonia.
She also said there was no quarantine procedure in place because the shelter is basically one large long room. There are 30 to 35 dogs there now. She said she separated cages using roofing material.
"I apologized if that was the dog that brought the kennel cough," she said. "It was about a month ago. I told this group I could no longer accept animals from this rescue group."
Dr. Mike Dunn, a veterinarian who's a nonvoting member of the SHARK board, declined to speak about whether Bentley handled the situation correctly, but said the spread of kennel cough is a real fear.
"It's really, really contagious between dogs," he said. "Like kids at school, one kid comes in with something and then it seeps through the classroom."
He said kennel cough -- technically called tracheal bronchitis -- is rarely fatal but if it spreads, countless dogs could be affected. That's why the shelter is not adopting animals out or accepting animals for likely a month and a half.
"It could run through the entire town," Dunn said. "It's less than a 5 percent mortality rate. But you'd hate for 5 percent of dogs in Marathon to die from it."
The transporters and their fodder feeders could care less that they transport diseased animals and that those diseased animals are putting our pets at risk. Regulate these transports, vet those transported animals, stop patting yourselves on the back because you don't deserve it. You aren't saving lives with these transports, you are sending more into areas already suffering with an overpopulation. You are immoral and unethical when you transport into those areas.