SAN ANGELO, Texas — Since the City of San Angelo announced the evacuation of the animal shelter to treat a roach infestation at the end of August, many people have been concerned with the conditions of the facility that houses hundreds of homeless animals.
Multiple photographs of the shelter began circulating on Facebook with one post getting 1,400 shares. This caused the growth of concern for the animals, not only from people in San Angelo but across the United States. Concho Valley Homepage received messages regarding the shelter’s conditions from as far as Pennsylvania.
The director of Cassie’s Place, an animal rescue in San Angelo, shared with Concho Valley Homepage staff what she saw as she walked through the halls of the animal shelter on Monday, August 30th and Tuesday, August 31st.
“As anyone would tell you, you walk in and the smell would knock you out,” Cassie’s Place Director Michelle Zrubek explained.
The conditions of the general population kennels that dogs had been kept in had not changed for multiple years according to Zrubek.
“What we saw in 2016, 2014, it was the same,” she shared.
Drainage systems that had been a problem at the shelter for over a decade overflowed into kennels.
Along with kennels, food bowls, towels, blankets and beds being covered in feces and urine, roaches crawled the floors and walls of the facility before it underwent previous pesticide treatment on September 2nd.
“The window was covered in roaches under the paper that was kind of preventing you to see what was in that room,” shared Zrubeck.
The floors of the animal shelter are also covered in what looks like dirt Zrubek says, however, the small amount of rain in San Angelo that week had kept people from tracking mud into the facility.
“The halls looked as if they were muddy,” said Zrubek. “The floors were literally covered in feces being tracked through.”
Sharon Halfmann, director of another animal rescue named the Critter Shack also shared what she had witnessed when she was last at the shelter to rescue a kitten that she knew needed help.
“I was horrified,” said Halfmann. “This was worse than I have ever seen it.”
Halfmann was able to rescue the small kitten along with 31 cats and a dog. After further examination of the little grey kitten, the rescue found it had two injured legs that had not been treated.
Zrubek spoke to San Angelo City Council on Thursday, September 8th about what she had witnessed during a visit to the shelter. She also spoke about pictures that had started circling on social media.
“As all of you know over the past week there has been a lot of critical things happening at the shelter,” said Zrubek. “Pictures that have circulated that show the situation that was taking place in the shelter, they were not altered or inaccurate.”
Zrubek also shared she had walked the shelter twice the previous week.
“It was heartbreaking,” Zrubek explained.
City Council member Karen Hesse explained to Zrubek and others in the audience that she understood the concern many people have over the animal shelter.
“I have so many comments that have been forwarded to me that I could probably read for another five minutes but I definitely want this conversation to continue until we reach a better place,” Hesse said. “We are not there yet.”
Christopher McGuffin, the vetting coordinator at Cassie’s Place, also spoke about their concerns about the animal shelter during the public comment section.
“Even as we all came in this building today, we had an expectation that we were going to see a certain level of cleanliness of the floors, on the halls and public access areas,” McGuffin explained to the council. “And in the shelter right now that just is not existing.”
Concho Valley Homepage staff reached out to the San Angelo Animal Service for a statement prior to the release of this article. There has not yet been a response.