Price animal shelter hopes CEU students will volunteer for day-to-day facility operations

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Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 - 7:37pm

Cj Jelsma

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The well being of animals has always been a part of the world that has great meaning to many. When County Commissioners met in January to oversee a few local issues, the animal shelter's latest problem of having to replace the previous shelter director who would give new leadership to the facility, was of concern to many local citizens.

Brenda Pappas, of the Humane Society, proposed creating a board of volunteers to oversee what the animal shelter is doing behind closed doors. "We just don't want things to go backwards, part of that has to do with who is hired to take the leadership position, but part is also oversight of what is going on there as well."

One issue raised by Pappas being the overwhelming amount of animals being euthanized in the last few years, a vast number that in one month was around 70 dogs. She pointed out that in the early 1990s animal adoption rates at the shelter were low, but things changed dramatically from June 1994 through January 1995 when more than 300 dogs and 170 cats were adopted.

Another issue discussed by Pappas was the incredibly filthy conditions inside the animal shelter, one being the enormous amount of piled up paperwork, which Pappas described as a "fire hazard," for the animals, not to mention employees to have to endure working in.

Pappas also reported to the Commissioners that when the previous director of nearly a decade was putting down animals, they were not following state law on the matter. "I believe if you look at the state law and the county code they almost conflict with each other on this matter," she said. She also said that they should only consider euthanasia when absolutely necessary, possibly even becoming no-kill.

Commissioner Mike Milovich agreed with Pappas, saying "we can get a new director hired and look over these ordinances to see what needs to be fixed. We haven't looked at those laws for a very long time."

Steven D. Burge, commissioner in charge of the animal shelter, described what he had seen at the animal shelter when he visited it earlier that day, mentioning that local veterinarian, Dr. Boyd Thayn, who had visited at the same time, had found several problems with the cleanliness of the shelter.

One problem fixed earlier that day was the availability of clean, fresh water for the animals while they're outside during the day. The water had been freezing and there wasn't anything the employees could do to help this, but with a few tips from Thayn, this problem was remedied rather quickly.

Pappas said that another problem for the shelter was many cats being purchased dying a few days or weeks after adoption. She mentioned the possibility of an outbreak of some sort of upper respiratory disease. Thayn agreed and mentioned there was the presence of viruses in the cat house and the transferring of disease from one animal to another.

Pappas mentioned a few of her own ideas on how to help out the shelter, one being the quarantining of new arrivals to help reduce the outbreak of any contagious diseases within the shelter. Another idea is vaccinating animals along with their spaying/neutering rule they already have in place. To offset the cost of this, possibly giving the animals' new owners the choice of having their animals micro chipped, instead of doing it to every one that is adopted. Mandatory vaccinating of all animals is already done by the Humane Society in Salt Lake and other areas.

Commissioner Burge told Pappas that it would be a great idea for the volunteers of the local Humane Society to come up with a few good questions to ask the candidates for the director's job.

After hearing Pappas' reports on the animal shelter, the Carbon County Commissioners agreed to have the advisory board, with Commissioner Milovich saying "It is a good idea to have a board like this to check on the operations at the shelter."

After long interviews for a prospective director, Carol Logston was chosen to take the position of the animal shelter's new director, and was sworn in Tuesday, January 18.

The animal shelter's office manager for the past three years said that the new director is already a big hit, and that the most important problem for her to be addressed is the number of animals being euthanized.

Logston says that she plans to make some changes to the animal shelter, including decreasing the amount of animals being euthanized every year. Not saying how she plans on doing this, Logston said that "several problems need to be dealt with."

She also mentioned wanting to help increase adoptions by starting a pet spotlight in the Sun Advocate again, and also would like to have more volunteers come out to the shelter to help socialize the animals. College of Eastern Utah students that need volunteer hours for the Sun Center may also be able to use their time spent for service-learning credit.

After only a week being in the position of director, the shelter improved vastly. When you walk into the shelter now, it seems like a completely new place, the office being tidier, and the smell from the animals decreasing greatly.

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