Animal Shelter Faces Overcrowding

Animal Shelter Faces Overcrowding

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News Specialist Jill Atwood reportingSouth Salt Lake and the people who run its animal shelter seem to have been operating with different views on what the shelter is for.

And now, a sharp disagreement has come to a head.

Both sides want the best for the animals, but even that outcome is in question.

Here you have a rescue attitude versus an animal control attitude, and the two are butting heads. Meantime, it's the animals that seem to be suffering most from all this.

Inside the South Salt Lake Animal Shelter, there are cats ... cats ... and even more cats.

In fact, animal control says they are 50 felines over the limit. Some are two to a cage, and some cats don't even have a cage.

It seems the people who were running this shelter adopted a no kill policy, using different agencies and resources to adopt pets out.

But according to animal control, they also kept dogs and cats a lot longer than they should have and ignored some very important policies and procedures along the way.

They've now been put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

"We still are a government-owned shelter. We are not a humane society and keeping animals for extended periods of time costs money, which in turn costs money to taxpayers," says Darin Sweeten with the South Salt Lake Police Department.

Add to that, says animal control, the health and safety issues that go along with having too many animals.

In other words, they say sometimes euthanasia has to happen.

Darin Sweeten says everyone involved has the same goal -- to find pets good homes. He's just concerned with the way the shelter is going about it.

Margo Neilson is a volunteer and very close to shelter employees.

"They have not been taught any of the real paperwork and procedures. Well, if you do not teach someone something, then they have to create it themselves," Nielson says.

At this point, No More Homeless Pets is doing its part to take as many animals out of here as they can to get adopted. And this shelter has actually won awards for saving so many animals and finding them good homes. It just seems they have a little more than they can handle right now.

If you're interested in adopting an animal, cats are $5 and dogs are $15.

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