Wednesday meeting for public discussion of animal shelter conditions

St. George Animal Shelter, St. George, Utah, July 22, 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – On Wednesday at 5 p.m., the St. George City Council will host an open-house session to allow the public to address the city council and mayor with any concerns, questions or comments they may have.

While open-house council meetings are not uncommon, this gathering is expected to be especially lively.  Many residents are expected to attend in hopes of addressing the council about recently surfaced allegations of neglect and mistreatment of dogs and cats at the shelter.

At last Thursday’s city council work meeting, the council chambers were filled with residents wanting to voice their concerns about the conditions at the shelter; however, many attendees were disappointed when Mayor Dan McArthur declined to allow public comment, citing an already full agenda and limited time.

This Wednesday’s meeting should provide concerned residents with ample opportunity to voice their concerns about the animal shelter, or any other matter they would like to address. McArthur and City Manager Gary Esplin, as well as the entire city council, are expected be at the meeting.

As reported on Saturday, the city is currently conducting an investigation into allegations of neglect and possible abuse at the animal shelter. On Tuesday, city officials revealed that Animal Control Officer David Vane, the former supervisor at the animal shelter, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation into the allegations. Vane will no longer be supervising day-to-day operations at the shelter; instead, operations will now be supervised by Sgt. Ivor Fuller of the St. George Police Department.

In addition to the change in management at the shelter, a number of additional policy changes will be announced at Thursday’s city council meeting. Although the specific policy changes have yet to be formally announced, city council members have said that the changes will closely resemble suggestions outlined in councilman Jon Pike’s campaign blog on Saturday.

The open session of city council will take place on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The policy changes at the animal shelter will be formally announced at city council work meeting on the following day, Aug. 1, beginning at 4 p.m.

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Email: mflynn@stgnews.com
Twitter: @stgnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

St. George Animal Shelter, St. George, Utah, July 22, 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News
St. George Animal Shelter, St. George, Utah, July 22, 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

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7 Comments

  • San July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Awesome!!! Good job getting this list of issues addressed in the media. I saw the story, and Lynn from PAWS, on the morning news. That wouldn’t have happened without you guys! Let’s hope that the animals get some relief and the staff some support!

  • San July 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Why isn’t this your lead story right now??? You have 3 hours and no one even knows about this this meeting.

  • Gunther July 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Here’s the best idea yet! The city should just scrap the animal shelter program and turn it over to the countless folks who commented about what was going on at the shelter. These folks could find funding, take turns working there, etc.. Look at all the money the city could save. I don’t think that cities and government need to be involved in “everything” that goes on around us. Maybe someone could privatize a shelter. Who knows? Is an animal shelter something that STG needs to be concerned about?

    • LeAnn Walters July 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Yes we do need to be concerned! But I second the question – why is this being published just hours before the meeting?

  • KTW July 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve been irritated with the St. George animal shelter for some time. In the past few years, I have picked up two different stray dogs wandering on Dixie Downs Road. Both dogs had collars with city licenses but no owner’s information. I called the shelter, one time it was late on a Friday afternoon and the other time it was on a Saturday. Both times I was told that no one was available to pick up the dog and could I keep the dog until Monday? I was so stinking mad at the woman who answered the phone both times. When I was able to contact the owners on Monday, they had been so stressed and were so happy to see their dogs safe. Doesn’t the person who answers the phone over there have a way to look up owner’s information from the license tag if no one is available to pick up the dog? The city shelter needs some big changes.

  • Fritz July 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Half the animal shelters never scan the animals for microchips or bother to check the tags. .There seems to be a unconcerned attitude toward protecting animals .There needs to be more concern and follow up on cruelty to animals.Thank goodness for Best Friends and Ivins no Kill shelter.

    • LeAnn Walters October 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

      I would bet that ivins will only be a no kill shelter until they are full…then dogs will have to be shuttled off to st. George where we jniw they will be out down. Our whole community needs to be more involved and educated. Volunteer to foster if you truly want a no kill shelter system.

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