Animal Shelter Euthanasia Rate Down Two-Thirds, Adoptions Up, But Numerous Concerns Still on Table

Updated 1 year ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Animal Control Tuesday, Nov 27
Animal Control Tuesday, Nov 27

The Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Control shelter has made improvements, according to Shelter Director Jim Crumm, who is a certified WV animal control officer. However, the facility has come under intense scrutiny following discovery of a still living puppy found in a trash bag by  a sanitation worker. The animal had been put down due to the parvo virus , but it survived the euthanasia.

Chris Tatum, county manager, told reporters at a Wednesday, Nov. 28 news conference that not hitting a vein of a “wiggling” animal causes a delay in the process. In the case of the sick puppy, the trained technician sent the puppy to Rainbow Bridge through administration of a second dose, after it was found alive.

Tatum and the shelter board of directors stand behind Crumm who in seven months has added hot water, industrial sanitation for bowls, a microscope to identify parasites , new exhaust system, and new indoor kennels.

At Monday night’s Huntington City Council meeting, John Brumley, a representative of Friends of the Shelter Huntington Cabell Wayne,  asked Huntington City Council for $30,000 of funds to assist at the under-staffed and under  funded facility.

“We ask the city to reach into its pocket and hearts,” Brumley explained, stating the funds would be used in part to enclose an outside area.

Although the adoption rate is up and the euthanasia is down two thirds, the shelter has endured problems ranging from alleged not followed protocols designed to prevent disease, the medical director’s resignation, the volunteer coordinator’s resignation, and missing funds.

O’Dell told HNN , “I resigned as Volunteer Coordinator on November 15, 2012, after Mr. Cumm cursed at me … because my last statistics post included a statement that some of the animals were euthanized and that I did not have access to their records. Mr. Crumm accused me of ruining his good name.”

She explained that the living “bloody puppy in the trash bag” was found the next day.

O’Dell told WSAZ.com that due to employees not following the former medical director’s instructions, twice in November 2012, all cats and kittens up for adoption  have been put to sleep.

Veterinarian Dr. Jacqueline Chevalier, who resigned in August, has sent an updated  statement to WSAZ.com confirming that her August resignation, in part, related to personnel not following protocols “which I had worked so hard to implement as well as an extensive bill.” According to O’Dell the amount owed comes to $16,600 in addition to a demand for $8,000 for “cages she loaned that are not currently in the condition when she loaned them.”

Based on her recent statement to WSAZ.com, Dr. Chevalier is willing to work with the shelter again , if the disease preventing steps are fully implemented. She said that Tatum has set up a payment plan with her for the funds owed.

Finally, a receptionist was dismissed after about $650 could not be found. Councilman Jim Insco at the council meeting expressed concerns too that purebred dogs often “disappear,” after a constituent tried to adopt a beagle that was later not located.

Council chairman Mark Bates told council he would forward Brumley’s request to the Finance Committee chaired by mayor-elect, Steve Williams.

 Brumley pleaded, “We should not hold cats and dogs accountable for what people do.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 27 councilman Scott Caserta supplied photos to HNN taken at the shelter. Following the Wednesday revelations, he withheld further comment until making another visit to the shelter to see whether his photographed were taken on a bad day.

The former volunteer coordinator stressed that the conditions shown were not a “bad day,” adding, “I am very disappointed in the way the animals are treated. It is shameful.”

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