ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — There are concerns about conditions at a local animal shelter. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) said it has found several deficiencies at the Eastern Shore Regional Animal Control Center.
“There are guidelines in the state law,” said animal activist Jim Mason. “The state law and the regulations require certain things.”
Mason said he petitioned VDACS about the facility. Then, after he submitted it to the state, inspectors made a surprise visit to the shelter on Beacon Road. VDACS told 10 On Your Side the inspection was planned and not because of the complaint.
State inspectors said some state regulations aren’t being kept at the facility in Accomack County.
“I was delighted that they inspected and found what we’ve been seeing all along,” Mason said.
Inspectors had an issue with how hot it was in the shelter; it has no air conditioning. The Accomack County Sheriff’s Office runs animal control, and Sheriff Todd Godwin said he’s not required to have AC. He said plenty of fans at the facility do the job. He told 10 On Your Side it would cost $60,000 to put AC in building, and it’s not coming out of his budget.
“I think we can get that money, but we are going to have to deal with somebody who takes it seriously,” Mason said. “It probably won’t be the sheriff or the animal control department. We need somebody from the county to take this problem seriously.”
Inspectors also found a lack of ventilation and record keeping, a heavy fly infestation and that cats weren’t being sedated prior to being euthanized. The sheriff said they do sedate dogs, but that the state never told them they had to sedate cats before putting them down.
Officials also said adequate veterinary care was not provided to neonatal kittens, when necessary. That resulted in eight kittens dying between April and June.
Inspectors also noted there is no dog-run area at the center. Sheriff Godwin said the county is in the process of building one.
There were 29 dogs and 25 cats on site Wednesday, when 10 On Your Side stopped by.
“Even though the report pointed out that no dog showed signs of illness or injury, there was language in the report that showed evidence of suffering,” Mason said.
The sheriff said he doesn’t understand why the inspector found issues now. He showed 10 On Your Side the state’s inspections for the past several years, and they’ve all been flawless.
Wednesday, deputies were out at the facility correcting the issues mentioned in the inspection. They have 30 days to that before the facility is re-inspected.