Putnam County Animal Shelter reacts to letter

Commissioners: No illegal activity taking place


PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County Animal Shelter is speaking out, a day after an animal activist group sent a letter to the governor and the attorney general requesting that an immediate investigation take place at the shelter.

The group called Friends of Putnam Animals alleges multiple counts of animal cruelty in its letter.

The Putnam County Board of County Commissioners fired back with their own letter, which was sent to News4Jax, and they said no illegal activity is taking place.

Allegations about the Putnam County Animal Shelter have been pouring in for months. Just recently, the shelter was closed after a parvo outbreak that left several dogs affected and right as the shelter was set to re-open, an animal rights group called for an immediate investigation.

News4Jax spoke to Mike Merrill earlier this week, and he said he along with 11 others representing Friends of Putnam Animals signed the letter that has now been sent to state officials.

"The animals are killed for no reason. Sick and injured animals sit in their kennels with no treatment whatsoever and proper shelter management procedures are not followed," Merrill said.

The letter states that aggravated animal cruelty, illegal actions by animal control personnel and improper shelter management procedures are taking place. The group also alleges that fraud, waste and abuse is happening and arbitrary killings of animals are happening.

But in a written response, the Board of County Commissioners is refuting those allegations, stating that the letter is devoid of any facts and the county administration is not aware of any illegal or intentional misconduct.

And the commissioners said they acknowledge the animal control facility is less than ideal and right now they're working on securing a grant and other funding sources to assist in either replacing or renovating the current facilities.

If the state grants the animal activist group's wishes of carrying out an investigation on the shelter, the commissioners said they will cooperate.

The board members did not specify exactly where any grant money would even come from but they do hope it will result in a more effective operation and a more comfortable environment for the animals in its custody.

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