When a potential adopter recently went to the New Brockton animal shelter in Coffee County, Alabama, she was appalled at the inhumane and squalid conditions she found. Instead of the expected animal shelter scene—well-fed dogs and cats in clean kennels and cages with platforms and bedding, fresh water, and air—the adopter found sick puppies and malnourished dogs confined in outdoor-only, feces-ridden pens, some without access to water. Further investigation found one dog tethered so tightly that the chain was digging into her skin, close to becoming embedded. Other dogs were suffering from untreated tumors and eye injuries, and one young dog was allegedly so badly injured in a fight that had occurred inside one of the shelter's kennels that he had to be later euthanized. When Sherriff Dave Sutton responded to the scene, he called the conditions "disgusting and deplorable." Investigating officers also reportedly found carcasses near the shelter that were thought to be the remains of other dogs.
A criminal investigation is underway to find out what went wrong that resulted in such negligent and cruel conditions at the county-run facility. The Coffee County Sheriff's Department has taken swift and decisive action, and the case is scheduled to be brought before a grand jury next week. In the meantime, all the animals have been removed from the facility and are now receiving veterinary care and aid.
Unfortunately, not all animal shelters provide the compassionate care that they should. To ensure that animals in your local shelter are being treated with proper and lawful care, consider volunteering your time to enrich the lives of these deserving animals. You can also refer to PETA's shelter checklist to confirm that conditions are up to par.
Written by Michelle Sherrow