Shelter director Tina Limbaugh reported 66 animals died at the shelter in the month of June, 55 dogs and 11 cats. She compared that to the month of January, when only three dogs died.
Limbaugh said the animals appeared to be dying from more than one disease.
“I’m not a veterinarian, so all I can tell you is (there were signs) of parvo,” she said. “But they could’ve been infected with worms. We have one right now and we can’t tell what is wrong with it.”
Limbaugh also said the shelter received 177 animals for the month, had 10 euthanized and 17 adopted. She said of the nearly 200 animals at the shelter Tuesday, 150 are sick.
ARF president Jaclyn Cosper said she previously spoke with a shelter employee about the issue. She said she was concerned about where they would house the sick animals at the shelter.
“(Shelter employees) want to figure out another isolation area, especially for animals with airborne diseases,” Cosper said. “But I don’t know where that would be.”
Limbaugh said the shelter continues to get animals, many of them sick, left after hours outside the shelter. She said she found one dog in a cage that was dead and covered in insects when she came to work in the morning.
“We have them tied up out here, starving to death and eaten up by fleas and ticks,” another shelter employee said. “We have them thrown out in boxes by the door.”
Board members also met with veterinarian Kevin Moulin of Childersburg. Moulin said he appreciated them reaching out to him and hoped they would do the same with other area veterinarians to assist at the shelter.
Moulin said the shelter needs to make it a priority to get the animals spayed or neutered before people take them home.
“There were a number of times when people came in for that initial visit and I never saw them again,” he said. “And I know that dog or cat went out there and had more kittens or puppies, and they ended up right back in here at the shelter again.
“The whole purpose of having a shelter is to decrease the animal population. If you are giving these pets out because they hand you $70, you are not helping the animal.”
Board members asked Moulin for a price for both euthanasia and cremation services, as well as spaying and neutering. Moulin suggested the shelter have a set period for animals that are not adopted to be put to sleep.
Now animals can stay there indefinitely, according to employees.
“You need to have a policy like that,” Moulin said. “That’s why you are getting so many, because you are keeping these animals more than 30 days.”
In other business, the board discussed the amount of debt the shelter owes. Board member Angela Pearson said several board members were asked to meet with an IRS representative Thursday.
She said the meeting was to discuss approximately $14,000 owed by the shelter to the federal government in unpaid payroll taxes from 2006 to second quarter 2010, not counting penalties.
All board members were not required to attend the meeting, Pearson said. Beth Caine, Cosper, Joe Richardson and Charles Sims did not have to come since they were only appointed to the board last month.
Sims, who was appointed treasurer last month as well, said the shelter also owed thousands in taxes to the state and around $40,000 to a local veterinarian.
The foundation’s primary source of funding has been a $30,000 annual appropriation from the city, along with use of the city-owned facilities and utilities. Richardson suggested the board speak to an attorney about dissolving the foundation.
“I don’t know if there is any other choice,” he said. “We will never be able to survive if we have that kind of debt. We probably need to seriously think about changing our name, going to the City Council and giving the building back, and reorganizing and doing something different.”
Contact Matt Quillen at firstname.lastname@example.org