After several days filled with controversy, Ellisville city officials had a small, city-run animal holding facility demolished Tuesday morning.
People expressed outrage on Facebook, claiming the animals are being kept in a small building with no air conditioning and unsanitary cages.
ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - After several days filled with controversy, Ellisville city officials had a small, city-run animal holding facility demolished Tuesday morning.
The city had come under scrutiny in the past week for alleged sub-standard conditions in the facility, including rusted cages, unsanitary conditions, no air conditioning and lack of proper ventilation.
Mayor Tim Waldrup said he and the Board of Alderman haven't decided how to proceed. He says they will go into the community to meet with their constituents to get a feel for what they want. Waldrup added they are looking to come up with a solution in the next couple of months.
Local resident Melissa Johnson felt moved to go to the facility Tuesday and place a wreath to remember all the animals that had spent time there.
"It's a happy moment and it's a sad moment at the same time because there's still no justice for those who have already been through there," Johnson said. "I would love to see a bigger building with a yard for them to run and play and caretakers who actually have a heart for the animals."
A recently formed group in the Jones County area -- Southern Cross Animal Rescue -- has offered its assistance to the city. Members say they intend to build a shelter in or near Ellisville because that's where they see the greatest need. They have spoken with the mayor and board and say even if the city doesn't support them financially they still intend to build.
Mayor Waldrup said last week the person who was responsible for providing food and water and keeping the facility clean works for another city department and there is no full time person.
"We do not have air conditioning, but we have adequate fans in there and we have a holding area that we put them," Waldrup said. "You have to understand this is a five-day hold facility until the owner comes to claim the animal."
The facility was also in the news in 2007 for poor conditions. At the time, Waldrup agreed a new facility was needed, but for a small city like Ellisville it was just too expensive. Since that time, the city has looked into building a new one on two occasions, but the cost was too much, the mayor said.
"The first time we put a bid out it was $45,000 for just a small area. We then reduced the size and the bid went up to $70,000. We do plan on building a new facility and it will be in the next 12-months," Waldrup said.
Waldrup added the facility was not new, but it met all the laws they needed to meet. He says animals brought to the facility are humanely euthanized at an area veterinarian after five days if they are not claimed by the owner. The city also pays for a proper burial.
Dr. Kimberly Martin with the Ellisville Animal Medical Center says most of the animals from the facility that were taken to the clinic were adopted out or taken in by herself and her staff. The only animals that were euthanized were dogs that bite and wild cats. She said that the cost of caring for the animals came from her pocket.
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