Concerns raised over animal shelter conditions, Blytheville Animal Control responds

Blytheville animal shelter concerns

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - In Mississippi County, the talk of poor conditions at a local animal control shelter have caused a stink around town.

Even a rescue shelter in Northwest Arkansas is calling on the community to help.

When Region 8 News visited the Blytheville Animal Control shelter Wednesday, the kennels looked freshly cleaned and the dogs seemed healthy.

But the co-founder of Pit Ridge, Moriah Anthony, said she had a different experience a few months back.

The shelter has made some changes, but a lot of it comes down to the lack of funds and staff.

“We pulled up and you could smell it from outside,” Anthony said, remembering her last two trips to the shelter. “We walked past these dogs, and they were standing in feces, in their own urine.”

Anthony said a previous animal control officer called her in to help.

"We cleaned all the kennels," Anthony said. "We vaccinated all the dogs."

Two trips across the state, 18 dogs transported out, and a deep clean from top to bottom later, and Anthony is still getting word that conditions at the shelter are unbearable.

But, Assistant Police Chief Ricky Jefferson said his animal control officers have a daily routine to keep the shelter clean and the dogs safe.

"They are well versed in things that need to be done," Jefferson said.

What sometimes interrupts that routine are calls for service.

"The type of calls we take are abandoned dogs," Animal Control Officer Michelle Grubbs said. "Just recently we got a dog because he was left outside in the past ice storm."

So many of the animals they take in are already in poor health.

"In a perfect world, we would love to take every single one of our dogs to the vet," Grubbs said.

But, vet bills aren't cheap.

"The city just doesn't have the funds to pay that," Grubbs said.

That’s just one of many things Jefferson said they’d like to do, if the staff and the money were available.

"We want to get some outside kennels or some outside runs where the dogs can exercise more," Jefferson said.

That's where the community can step in to help.

Grubbs, Jefferson, and Anthony all agree that any volunteers and donations would make a huge difference.

“Oh my God,” Grubbs said. “It would be amazingly helpful.”

"We're always open to volunteers to come out here and help," Jefferson said.

"The community is going to have to step in and give them some help," Anthony said.

If you want to volunteer your time, make a donation, or help foster a dog, contact Jefferson at 870-763-4411.

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