New Hampshire

Puerto Rican Puppies Brought to New Hampshire, Vermont Have Contagious Bacterial Infection

A group of dogs rescued from Puerto Rico and brought to New Hampshire have fallen ill, and now state health officials have a warning for residents who may have contracted the bacterial infection.

Two of the ten rescued dogs have died from the infection. The woman who rescued them tells NBC Boston that she’s doing everything she can to keep the rest of the puppies alive.

From the storm-ravaged streets of Puerto Rico, to Aimee Goodwin’s Norwich, Vermont backyard, the puppies have had quite the journey.

“Well, it’s heartbreaking,” said Goodwin.

Since arriving in the U.S., five of the rescues have become sick. One tested positive for Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be deadly for animals, as it was for two of Goodwin’s rescues.

“The whole point is to have them thrive and have wonderful lives here and to see it end like that is just terrible,” Goodwin said.

The infection can be transmitted from animals to humans and earlier this week, some customers at Ramunto’s in Hanover had the chance to play with the puppies at an event to raise money for Goodwin’s nonprofit, Surfin’ Sato.

“The risk was very low with the dogs being out on the porch,” Goodwin said.

The New Hampshire State Epidemiologist says in humans, the infection can cause flu-like symptoms and if left untreated, could cause liver and kidney failure. So, he’s urging anyone who had direct contact with the animals to talk to their doctor.

“I’m concerned for the people who’ve been exposed and the dogs who’ve been exposed,” Goodwin said. “But it also confirms this is what we need to be doing right now.”

With the help of some antibiotics, the rest of the puppies are no longer showing any symptoms and Goodwin is hopeful they will be going to their adoptive families by next week.

The owner of Ramunto’s declined an on-camera interview but told NBC Boston he was trying to do something good for Goodwin’s nonprofit, for the animals, and the community. He’s disappointed this happened, but reassures his customers there is absolutely no risk to anyone except the people who came into direct contact with the puppies on November 12. 

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