By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - Animal adoptions jumped last week at the Warren County Humane Association, days after the executive director announced an internal investigation into allegations that cats needlessly are being euthanized and were once put into garbage bags while still alive.
Typically, 10 animals are adopted weekly from the animal shelter, said manager Amy Fugate.
Lori Marzheuser and her son, Andy, look at puppies Friday at the Warren County Humane Association.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
But on Saturday, shelter records showed 20 animals - 14 dogs and six cats - had been adopted last week.
The spurt in adoptions has been the only positive aspect to come out of the allegations, which surfaced last week, shelter workers say. The controversy prompted four board members to resign recently because they said the situation was not being properly addressed.
"The silver lining to the dark cloud is we are getting people in here," Fugate said. "It's a terrible way to get them in here, but hopefully it will save some lives in the long run."
Susan Baim of Lebanon, who adopted a 6-month-old black terrier mix named Bob on Saturday, said she was concerned when she first heard about the allegations. But she visited the shelter, spending time with Bob before she took him home Saturday, and said she is pleased with shelter operations.
"The kill rate kind of bothered me, but I've been really impressed," Baim said. "They keep everything really clean, and the employees are well informed and helpful. If I thought (Bob) had been mistreated at all, I would never have come back."
Susan Harrison of Mason agreed as she helped her mother-in-law pick out a white and gray kitten Saturday.
"We feel like it's not their fault," Harrison, 52, said, of the shelter workers.
"People have to come and get these animals or what are they going to do with all of them?"
Of the 6,208 cats and dogs turned over to the Warren County Humane Association last year, 4,572 were killed. Officials said the shelter lacks the room to hold animals until they are adopted.
Shelter operators hope an expansion project that should be complete in about a year will reduce the number of animals killed.
In the meantime, the formerly nine-member board will not elect new members. It now has five members, executive director Mari Lee Schwarzwalder said. The association's bylaws permit the non-profit organization to be run with five board members.
Schwarzwalder has denied the allegations. The shelter's attorney, James V. Heath of Maineville, is overseeing an internal investigation into the matter, she said.
Heath was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment.
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