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Animal Shelter in Trouble

***UPDATE FRIDAY 1/25/13 10:40 P.M.***Eldon Mayor Ronald Bly confirmed to ABC 17 News that the Eldon animal shelter is empty as they’re doing a complete rennovation. Mayor Bly says the investigative findings by the Missouri Department of Agriculture is expected at any time. ***UPDATE 4:30 P.M.***Eldon Mayor Ronald Bly confirmed to ABC 17 News that the Missouri Department of Agriculture has launched an investigation into allegations of brutal treatment of two dogs at Eldon’s animal facility. Eldon police officers reportedly abused the dogs at the facility.According to Bly, the MDA received complaints from citizens and showed up Wednesday for a scheduled inspection. The inspectors are conducting interviews with several people.Mayor Bly says he’s hopeful the investigation will be completed in a few weeks, but believes the accusations are “absolutely false.” ***ORIGINAL STORY***The city of Eldon has made its animal shelter a no-kill facility starting Tuesday morning. But the change comes amid accusations of abuse, neglect and mismanagement.Rumors started to swirl last week on Facebook and other social media that two Eldon police officers had taken two dogs to the shelter. The female was in heat and was put in the same run as the male, according to the story.That’s when the rumor takes a violent turn. As described online, the officers tried to separate the two dogs while they were mating – beating and pulling them, until the male’s sexual organs were ripped off and the two were separated. Their injuries required that they be put down.The city has asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate the case because police officers were involved. Mayor Ronald Bly said Tuesday he expected a response from the Patrol within a week.”The dumping of animals, the abuse of animals, the neglect of animals, and guess what? What upsets me to sit here and listen to it – it’s happening in your backyard, your shelter,” yelled Paul Rhodes, owner of Paws Place Animal Shelter in Osage Beach.About 100 people joined Rhodes at an Eldon Board of Alderman meeting Tuesday night, packing a small meeting room and spilling outside and into a neighboring courtroom. On the board’s agenda, a ordinance to euthanize animals at the shelter after 30 days.”I think this was kind of an eyeopener for the city to see the amount of rescue out there for these animals,” said Friends of Animals – Eldon board member Rene Ward. Ward was one of the organizers of the social media campaign to increase awareness of ongoing issues at the Eldon shelter.Among the concerns of those in attendance Tuesday night were the possible investigation into the shelter abuse and claims that the city’s shelter did not have a phone line, regular business hours and enough staff to regularly feed the animals and clean their runs.”I think the city needs to recognize that they need more people at the shelter so, watching over these animals and making sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Ward. “Their needs need to be met.”Ward also asked the Aldermen to establish an advisory board for the shelter, made up of experts in animal rescue. Mayor Bly told ABC 17 News after the meeting he expected changes to start happening by the end of the month.”I would think in the next couple of weeks, we could get a firm plan in place and get our hours adjusted at the animal shelter, where people can come in and look at animals and adopt animals and that’s what we want,” Bly said.At Tuesday night’s meeting, representatives from rescue operations and shelters from Montgomery City to Kansas City pledged support to the city if the Aldermen asked for it. Several people met in an adjacent courtroom to exchange information and to discuss adoption possibilities.Stay with ABC 17 News and for updates on this story as it develops in the coming weeks.

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