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Once again a group area residents met with the Adams County Commissioners Monday to address concerns regarding the Adams County Animal Shelter.
Joanna Stanley of Decatur said that according to a veterinarian in Berne, whom she declined to name, the animals at the shelter are suffering from upper respiratory infections, which are highly contagious to other animals as well as humans.
Stanley went on to say that according to the anonymous vet, the animals at the shelter are not receiving medical treatment and, in some cases, are "dying horrible deaths."
Stanley further stated that the Bowerses, who run the shelter, are not fulfilling the terms of their contract with the county, and that information should be provided to the public when animals at the shelter are suffering illness or disease, especially if they are contagious.
Stanley reported that on February 27 she took a female cat to the Red Barn Veterinary Clinic in Decatur with concerns of respiratory problems. Upon examination, Dr. Lorrie L. Riggs determined the cat had an upper respiratory infection, sneezing, a yellow discharge from the nose, shortness of breath, ear mites, and fleas, Stanley said.
Riggs also ran tests on the cat for leukemia, feline immunodeficiency, and heartworm; all of which were negative.
The cat was treated with antibiotics and released.
On February 29, Stanley said she brought a male cat to The Red Barn Clinic, reporting the cat was lifeless.
Upon inspection by Riggs, it was determined the cat was dehydrated and and in respiratory distress. Once again, Riggs ran tests for leukemia, feline immunodeficiency, and heartworm, with all the tests coming back negative, she said.
When contacted Monday afternoon, Dr. Riggs was unable to state whether the cats had been adopted from the shelter,and was only able to confirm that Mrs. Stanley was the client who brought the animals in for treatment.
Another member of the group, Gerald Gerig, stated at the meeting that he visited the shelter on a previous occasion, approximately two years ago, and found the shelter to be clean; however, Gerig also noted that he visited the shelter nearly a year ago and the animals were being crated in wooden cages, which he maintains retains bacteria that excellerates the spread of disease.
A February 26, 2010, in a report to the county commissioners by Adams County Health department head Terry R. Smith,concludes, "...the Bowers (Charley and Carol), are abiding by the terms of their contract with the county and doing a good job in running the shelter."
Inspector Richard Thompson of the Health Department said in an April 18, 2011, report stated "The shelter is well kept at all times. It is clean and shows people just how it can (be) and is to run."
Following initial complaints by Stanley and others in the group, Thompson inspected the shelter again on Thursday, February 23. In his report, Thomspon stated as follows:
"Both cats and dogs were or seemed to be happy and very well cared for. Cages were quite clean. The floor was clear of any feces and water bowls were all full of water. A few cages had urine on the floor, but not bad, as cages are all cleaned out etc. in mid-morning inspection. All cages are checked for fresh water, as they are also cleaned again around 7 p.m., or very close to that time."
Adams County Attorney Mark Burry told the citizens saying that the Adams County Animal Shelter is not affiliated with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which is a not-for-profit organization.
Burry suggested to the group that perhaps they could form an organization and contact a chapter of the SPCA to get their ideas moving in the right direction.
Burry also stated that, in the future, the county may be willing to work with the SPCA to help develop a no-kill shelter in Adams County.
For the time being, Burry reported, there have been no violations found at the shelter and as long as Adams County remains under contract with the Bowers, the shelter will continue to be monitored as it has been since its inception.