City leaders try to curb animal shelter euthanization

Published: Feb. 25, 2013 at 10:59 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 at 11:29 PM EST
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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - City leaders are trying to curb the number of animals being put down at the Petersburg Animal Shelter. One councilman requested a full report from the shelter outlining ways to improve conditions and prevent euthanizations.

"It's a nasty job," said one city worker, who disposes of dogs and cats on a regular basis.

Councilman Myers wants to curb this problem. He says he feels he's reached common ground with shelter officials to provide permanent homes and improve living conditions.

Myers launched the investigation into the shelter after a litter of puppies was stillborn in the middle of the night with no staff around. Since then, he's pushed for improvements for the shelter.

"I believe the police department has done everything they could, based on what I have seen and experienced in visiting the shelter," said Myers.

In the specifics outlined in the report, the shelter must maintain a detailed record of each pet inside this building for at least 30 days.

A spokesperson for the city also plans to keep tabs on some animals by posting pictures on the city's Facebook page - one more effort get pets out of the shelter and into a home. Myers also says tighter breeding laws and spay and neuter requirements are more solid solutions.

"So that we won't get into those high levels of euthanization, where we are killing animals just to control the population," Myers said.

Councilman Myers says he'll bring his concerns to the city council meeting March 5. He plans to form a task force to strengthen breading laws, and study the effects of adoption verses euthanasia.

NBC12 contacted the Petersburg Police Department, which oversees the shelter for comment, but no one returned our phone calls.

The shelter will hold a special animal adoption event March 9 at the Walmart in Petersburg on Crater road.

When we first reported this story, a city worker who was disposing of several bag said, "These are puppies. Maybe they didn't survive in there so they called us to take them away."

Councilman W. Howard Myers and Major William Rhode, Petersburg Bureau of Police contacted NBC12 to release the following statement:

"Following an investigation today by myself, the Police Department and the Public Works Department, we have discovered that incorrect information was given to the media, on-camera, by a city employee regarding the Petersburg Animal Shelter. The video showing a city employee putting garbage bags into the back of a truck and stating that the bags contained frozen euthanized puppies is unfounded and false.

"The garbage bags in question on the news segment, contained dead seagulls picked-up by an Animal Control Officer, who responded to a citizen complaint of deceased birds and a sick cat. The Petersburg Animal Shelter followed proper holding and disposal procedures."

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