MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile County Commissioners took another step Thursday, May 9 to answer concerns about the Mobile County Animal Shelter.
FOX10 News has been keeping a close watch on the shelter after 49 dogs there were euthanized earlier in 2013.
In their committee meeting, commissioners agreed to move forward with an in-depth program to evaluate shelter operations.
DETAILS ON DOGS THAT WERE EUTHANIZED
The 49 dogs were euthanized in January after shelter officials said one dog had a deadly contagious disease known as distemper. The shelter said all animals that shared the same kennel and play area had to be put down.
However, county commissioners called for an investigation, and formed an advisory committee to look at community concerns.
The advisory committee gave county commissioners recommendations.
County Commissioner Connie Hudson said, "One of those is to utilize part of the Maddie's Fund grant that the county receives towards an evaluation that is conducted by the University of Florida. They are well renowned in doing evaluations of animal shelters and making recommendations, and we think this is a great thing."
Maddie's Fund is a pet rescue foundation trying to guarantee that healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats get a loving home.
Dr. Jeni Knizley is president of the County Commission's advisory board.
She supports the contract with the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program because she says it includes, "a comprehensive evaluation of the shelter, the shelter operations, and we actually found out last night that it will also include an animal control field operations evaluation at no additional cost."
Because the county received a grant from the organization, commissioners said taxpayers won't pay anything for the oversight.
As far as progress made by the animal shelter since the commission took action, Knizley said she's pleased with what's being done.
As for Connie Hudson, she said, "We think a lot of improvements have been made. We've got a lot of community input now with the community advisory board, and we've got the veterinarians that are working there, the three that are alternating on a daily basis, and I think we've come a long way."
The county will take formal action on approving the Maddie's Fund Program at its meeting Monday, May 13.
Meantime, the advisory committee made other recommendations to Mobile County Commissioners. One involved feral cats.
Knizley said, "We are working on getting a feral cat policy with a shortened stray time so they are not held in cages for longer than three days."
The board recommended what's called the "breed specific policy" stay the same for pit bulls, chows, and wolf hybrids. The policy is that those dogs over three-months-old not be available for adoption.
Knizley said, "We feel that that protects the breeds that are more likely to have bite issues, and that also protects the general public that might not be familiar with that breed when adopting. The board has spent many hours in discussion and research to reach our recommendations. These recommendations are the majority vote of a board composed of 11 members and are not to be interpreted as any one individual's personal beliefs."
Finally, Knizley recommended the shelter adopt a volunteer technician program.
She said, "This would be managed by the advisory board, and it would be technicians that have served in the field for about two years, so they would be experienced technicians coming in to do diagnostics, such as intestinal parasite checking which will improve the overall health of the animals at the Mobile County Animal Shelter."
$25 ADOPTION FEES FOR SOME ANIMALS
The Mobile County Animal Shelter has announced there are $25 adoption fees for some animals this week only through Friday, May 10.
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