Chihuahua dies of dog flu at Tinley Park animal shelter

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A 3-year-old Chihuahua named Johnny Suede died over the weekend of dog flu, the first flu-related death at the P.A.W.S. animal shelter in south suburban Tinley Park.

"We gave him IV fluids, antibiotics, nebulizer treatments, you name it," said Cindy Staros, a Tinley Park P.A.W.S. volunteer. "He just couldn't pull through."

Nearly all of the dogs at the shelter were infected after an outbreak about two weeks ago. The outbreak is part of a widespread dog flu outbreak that started in the Chicago area in early spring.

The Tinley Park shelter is currently closed. They are not accepting any dogs or allowing adoptions since dogs can be contagious for up to 21 days.

"We have a lot of healthy dogs now who need to be adopted, but they can't because they are still carriers of the virus," Staros said.

Meanwhile, Tinley Park's first dog park, Canine Campus, sits empty due to concerns about the dog flu.

A grand opening was set for May 2, but pushed to the end of the month. Officials are still unsure if that will be enough time for dog owners to feel confident about letting their dogs mingle with others.

"I think they're all very understanding that no one wants to bring their dog in to an area where there might be some risk," said John Curran, director of the Tinley Park Parks and Recreation Department.
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