Under an agreement with the city, members of the Joe Black Effort has removed all animals from the Smithville dog pound and plans to accept any other strays brought to the shelter in an effort to find homes for them.
Joe Black Effort supporters want to eventually establish a no kill shelter locally so that abandoned animals won't have to be euthanized.
Two months ago we held our first "DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals' meet and greet.," said Joe Black member Rene Stufano. "The mayor and Monica Summers who works at the pound were there along with many Joe Black members and other interested parties.. We discussed the situation and also the idea of Joe Black taking the animals out of the pound at some point and all of the puppies now because the pound has parvo. After our discussion we felt that the conditions sounded a lot better than what we thought according to reports from other people," she said.
"This was a big decision, but in the moment (last Friday) it was the only one we were capable of making. We went to City Hall and called the mayor. We also called Alderman Gayla Hendrix who was attentive. She made arrangements for us to get a key (to the shelter). When we went in (shelter) the conditions were deplorable. All of the animals were frightened. They were fed, there was food out everywhere in big pans but the place itself was filthy, the dogs were filthy and some of them were sick or injured. We carried them all out and took them immediately to the vet for tests and shots. Presently they are all in foster homes," said Stufano
"Our intent was not to undermine our city authorities and certainly not to condemn or hurt the present care takers of the pound. I believe they were contracted to be there 40 hours a week which isn't nearly enough time to properly care for the facility. There are 168 hours in a week, which leaves the pound unattended for 128 hours a week. I believe the city thought it was being taken care of. There is no blaming here, no fingers to point, we only need to move forward from here," she said
"Our only intent is to see to the well being of the rescue animals and to take care of them until they can be placed in loving homes," added Stufano.
City officials hope to find common ground with the Joe Black Effort for a long term solution to the problem.