Oklahoma lawmaker proposes animal shelter inspections
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Monday, December 10, 2012
12/10/12 at 8:04 AM
McALESTER - Animal shelters would become subject to the same inspections as dog breeding operations under legislation planned by state Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester.
Renegar, a McAlester veterinarian, said some so-called shelters are as abusive as the puppy mills the dog-breeding regulations seek to control.
"It's just something that we need to address," said Renegar. "The good shelters are not going to balk at this."
Cynthia Armstrong, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said she agrees with Renegar's intent.
"A lot of good folks are doing a lot of good work out there, but there is a need for some inspections," said Armstrong.
Renegar said he was prompted to include shelters after being called in to help shut down two such facilities during the past few months. In both cases, he said, animals were found in deplorable conditions that required some to be euthanized.
In one of those cases, Renegar said, the owners of a supposed shelter in Latimer County were soliciting contributions while keeping 40 dogs in a 30-by-40-foot pen without proper food, water and sanitation. Animal carcasses in varying stages of decomposition were also found on the property.
The other case, in Pushmataha County, involved an elderly man who took in unwanted animals but could not care for them himself.
Renegar said the dogs were so mange-infested they were completely hairless.
"I couldn't even tell what breed some of them were," Renegar said.
Armstrong said she hopes Renegar's legislation will include municipal animal shelters.
"I've been called by citizens about small-town shelters that were very bad," she said. "We're not talking about (making them) fancy. We're talking about clean and humane."
Original Print Headline: Shelter inspections proposed
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365