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Police Investigate Conditions At Mile Hi Humane Society

May 9th, 2007, 02:51 PM
THORNTON, Colo. -- Authorities are investigating reported problems at the Mile Hi Humane Society in Thornton after the shelter was accused of unsanitary conditions and of losing some people's pets.

While the Mile Hi Humane Society's operations manager, Cindy Kelly, admitted that there are some problems at the shelter, she said they are minor and are the same problems that any other shelters face.

Kelly said there is a burnout factor among some of the employees, and that there have been some volunteers and employees who didn't follow the rules, adding that those people are no longer employed at the shelter.

"We're trying to do the best we can for pets that don't have homes," she said.

On any given day, Kelly said the Mile Hi Humane Society takes care of 50 to 60 dogs and at least 50 cats.

"There was a lot of feces on the ground. And especially in the cat area there were a lot of animals running around," said Commerce City council member Tracey Snyder. "There were a lot of cages that were bungee-corded shut, and you could see it would have been very easy for an animal to escape."

Snyder said she went to check on conditions at the shelter after receiving a call from a constituent whose cats ended up there.

"No one was able to help her search for the cats," Snyder said. "She was told to go outside and search in the sheds in the property surrounding the area and look for the cats. She never could find the cats that evening."

"We found the cats. They had just gone around the corner into the food room, which is a good room to go to," Kelly said.

Kelly said there are sometimes feces on the ground of the shelter, but it gets cleaned up.

"There are people I wish I could put in the kennel for mistreatment," Kelly said. "I know we're being accused of that by one or two people, that we're not humane and we're cruel -- and we're just not."

A spokesman for the Commerce City Police Department investigating the reports said when he visited the shelter everything seemed fine.

However, a Thornton police officer said he has issued four summons to the shelter, one for not providing water for a horse, one for not providing shelter for horses, one for failure to provide vet care for sick animals, and one for euthanizing an animal that should have been quarantined.

Kelly said the shelter is not responsible for the horses. She added that they only provide the stall space, and that the owners themselves are responsible for taking care of the horses.

Commerce City police are also investigating the shelter to determine if it is in compliance with its contract. Police said they will present their findings to the City Council. The Council will determine whether to continue with that contract.