Officer says shelter abuses animals -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officer says shelter abuses animals

A Lowndes County animal control officer says the animal shelter is abusing animals.

The State Department of Agriculture investigated and charged the shelter with failing to provide humane care and euthanasia violations.

County officials say they're working to fix all the problems.

Dogs bark and cats meow as concerned people in Lowndes County take a tour of the animal shelter. The tour comes after one of the shelter's own animal control officers spoke out saying the shelter's treatment to animals is cruel and inhumane.

"I'm the only voice that's going to speak up for the animals in that shelter," said animal control officer Susan Leavens. "I was hired as an animal control officer to protect the animals in Lowndes County and that includes the shelter."

Reporter: There's no signs of animal abuse here? "Not that I found," said Linda Patelski, the animal shelter director.

Documents show the animal shelter was in violation for failure to provide humane care. Leavens says this is a picture of the mixed pit that was brought in to the shelter in September 2010. The county manager says the animal was parasitic, abandoned and should've not have been at the shelter to begin with.

"Under policies of the animal shelter the animals should've been euthanized based on it's condition prior to being brought into the shelter," said Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard.

Leavens says it was emaciated and in bad shape with white gums. The county manager says it didn't receive vet care because of a miscommunication.

"We should've had a vet to see it but it did not occur," said Pritchard.

The dog was euthanized.

County officials say they're working to make improvements at the shelter this includes cameras inside the building, including rooms where animals are euthanized.

Pritchard says some other things they're implementing include more vet visits, placing drugs in storage under double locks.

The county manager says the shelter's job is not the same as a humane society.

The shelter's job is to pick up lost, unwanted, and diseased animals.

He says many of them have to be put down and the shelter's job is to do that in a humane and cost-effective way.

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