PERRY, Okla. - Several residents in one Oklahoma town are making shocking allegations of mistreatment against the city's animal shelter.
Pam Keith has a soft spot for animals.
It was during one of her last visits to the shelter when she says she made a gruesome discovery.
She says it was a smell that led her to something much worse than piles of feces inside the cages.
"It was bad. Dead dogs everywhere,” Keith cried.
Laying out in the open, she said the carcasses were left in a field behind the shelter.
"Went home, couldn’t sleep, nightmares of the dogs," Keith said.
She took to social media to share photos of what she saw and they quickly reached city officials.
"That is why I took this job, to help the animals,” David Golay, an animal control officer, said.
Golay is the only full-time animal control officer in Perry. He says euthanized animals are buried yards away from the shelter. He says what is seen in the photos is not typical.
"Our auger got hung up and it actually broke the auger and they had to come in and dig it out with a backhoe. I had no choice but to use the hole the backhoe dug. Once it got full, I covered it over,” Golay explained.
Keith does not agree with leaving the dogs out there and says the city can do better.
"Burying them, yeah, instantly. Just don’t let it sit out there in the open. Probably burning them would, probably cremation, would be the best on that,” Keith said.
The city told NewsChannel 4 it has addressed the issues at the shelter.
The city manager sent us the following statement.
"There have been some disturbing and disgusting photos from the City of Perry’s animal shelter posted on Facebook, the worst being dead dogs in various states of decomposition. I want to assure Perry residents that the these conditions are being addressed.
For the last several months, the city of Perry has been working with a group of local volunteers to improve the conditions at the shelter. This volunteer group is now organized as the Perry Humane Society, and their concern for humane treatment of animals is to be commended. Their willingness to be part of the solution in addressing issues at the shelter is very welcome. With the help of city funding, private donations, and volunteer time and effort, an addition to the existing animal shelter building is under construction. When the addition in completed, there will be runs to allow the animals to go in and out of the building and will be a major improvement over what we have now.
The City of Perry encourages responsible pet ownership. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. When Animal Control picks up animals, their goal is to reunite animals with their owners or find new responsible owners. Euthanizing animals is done as a last resort and is handled by a local veterinarian. As I understand the procedure, two injections are given. One to sedate the animal and the second to put it to sleep. It is done as humanely as possible, but is not a pleasant part of their job.
The City has been exploring alternatives to disposing of euthanized animals. I was contacted by the city of Stillwater about a month ago offering Perry their old incinerator that is due to be replaced. We will evaluate its condition and whether it is a viable and cost-effective alternative. Other alternatives for disposing of euthanized animals are also being discussed.
The Perry Humane Society has also been assisting Animal Control by helping advertise animals at the shelter available for adoption. Animal Control has also been releasing animals to the Humane Society that are available for adoption to responsible owners instead of having to be euthanized. Unfortunately, not all dogs are good candidates to be released for adoption. Because of the liability that the City of Perry bears for animals that are released to someone other than their owner, we use our best judgment and a lot depends on the age of the animal. If we err, it is going to be on the side of caution.
My message today is to let Perry citizens know that the City of Perry has been addressing the conditions at the Animal Control Shelter and will continue that effort with the help and involvement of the Perry Humane Society."