UPDATE: Volunteers Protest For Changes At Petersburg Animal Shelter

Petersburg, VA—After allegations of animal mistreatment, poor living conditions and a lack of cooperation with animal rescue groups, a Petersburg councilman called for a full investigation of the Petersburg Animal Shelter. The investigation has finished, but volunteers say changes are still needed at the shelter.

Animal advocate and shelter volunteer Jill Narvay feels the animals at the shelter need more exposure to possible owners.

” For the year 2012, 52 percent of the animals that walked through their doors died, without even so much as a picture in pet finder. No one had an opportunity to say I might want to adopt that animal,” she said.

Sarvay and other volunteers held a silent protest at the shelter February 5. They said they want to see simple changes made, like pictures of all the animals in the shelter uploaded to major online pet adoptions sites, instead of only on the shelter's Facebook page.

Volunteers claimed the city of Petersburg doesn't work well with adoption groups to put animals into permanent homes. They also claimed that it is difficult for people to volunteer.

At the silent protest, Councilman W. Howard Myers announced that a task force had been formed to fix the root of any problem at the shelter.

Councilman Myers requested on February 11 that the City Manager's and City Attorney's offices conduct a full investigation of alleged poor conditions, lack of cooperation with animal rescue groups, and abuse of animals at the Petersburg Animal Shelter.

Within the 10 day time limit set by Councilman Myers, the shelter furnished an internal report detailing its progress (read part 1 of the report here, read part 2 of the report here). Councilman Myers submitted the following statement about the report:

“Before you is a report provided internally. I've met with Major Rhode and staff to discuss how we can improve the care and consideration of adoption versus euthanasia by incorporating additional services to our impounded four legged friends.

“These animals are innocent in their activities and loyal by every since of the word. We as humans must educate ourselves in the process of spay and neutering to reduce and support the animal population.

“I will be at our March 5th council meeting motion to strengthen the effects of adoption versus euthanasia and stricter spay and neuter requirements forthwith. An animal great or small has a heart and a brain just like a human, it can be sorted with no foul intent from within. It is learned…As Councilman of Ward 5, I have found common ground in the report provided internally and will support what has been conveyed by law enforcement to improve any and all conditions.”

In a previous press release, Councilman Myers said he had been in constant contact with the shelter's supervisors and has been told conditions have improved. In 2011, the local SPCA gave the City a $50,000 contribution to improve the facilities at the Shelter.

Myers said before the release of the report that if the allegations prove true, he would ask for the City Council to take immediate action to improve conditions and replace any employees who participated in neglect of and improper treatment of animals in the shelter.

Earlier in February, 8News spoke with an animal rescuer to said a dog who gave birth at the shelter lost three of her four puppies. The dog and her lone surviving puppy have since been removed from the shelter, the advocate said.

Animal rescuer Jill Navary says the dog she was waiting to adopt was left alone at the Petersburg Animal Shelter while it gave birth to a litter of puppies.

After 8News first broke the news about the dogs' deaths and shared the story of one animal rescuer who claims the shelter mistreats its animals, 8News Facebook fans have flooded our page with similar complaints, saying they too feel the shelter mistreats its animals.

After investigating, 8News found that from 2008-2011, the shelter had multiple infractions (view documents below). Most of the infractions were regarding building conditions and lack of proper documentation for euthanization. In 2011, all euthanizations were suspended, because the people administering them were not certified. The drugs and doses used in the euthanizations were also not approved.

8News asked the state veterinarian, who oversees the shelter once a year, why the same problems had gone uncorrected year after year. We were told that shelters are usually given time to correct their problems.

In 2012, the Petersburg Animal Shelter passed its inspection with flying colors, and inspectors said conditions had improved greatly.

Stay with 8News for updates.

Inspection Reports: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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