Neglect and inhumane conditions at San Angelo Animal Shelter
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Since the city of San Angelo announced the evacuation of the animal shelter to deal with a cockroach infestation in late August, many people have been concerned about the conditions at the facility that houses hundreds of animals without shelter.
Several photographs of the shelter began circulating on Facebook with a post getting 1,400 shares. This has caused growing concern for the animals, not only from San Angelo residents, but from across the United States. The Concho Valley homepage has received messages about the conditions of the shelter from as far away as Pennsylvania.
The manager of Cassie’s Place, an animal shelter in San Angelo, shared with staff at Concho Valley Homepage what she saw walking through the halls of the animal shelter on Monday August 30 and Tuesday August 31.
“As everyone would tell you, you walk in and the smell will knock you out,” Cassie’s Place manager Michelle Zrubek explained.
According to Zrubek, the conditions of the general population kennels in which the dogs had been kept had not changed for several years.
“What we saw in 2016, 2014 was the same,” she shared.
Drainage systems that had been a problem at the shelter for over a decade overflowed into the kennels.
In addition to kennels, food bowls, towels, blankets and beds covered in feces and urine, cockroaches crawled on the floors and walls of the facility before he underwent treatment with pesticides on September 2.
“The window was covered in cockroaches under the paper, which kind of made it difficult for you to see what was in that room,” Zrubeck explained.
The floors at 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 following the mud into the facility.
“The hallways looked muddy,” Zrubek said. “The floors were literally covered in tracked excrement.”
Sharon Halfmann, director of another animal shelter named Critter Shack, also shared what she witnessed when she last visited the shelter to rescue a kitten she knew needed help.
“I was horrified,” Halfmann said. “It was worse than I had ever seen.”
Halfmann was able to save the little kitten with 31 cats and a dog. After further examination of the little gray kitten, the rescue discovered that he had two injured paws that had not been treated.
Zrubek spoke to the San Angelo City Council on Thursday, September 8, about what she witnessed during a visit to the shelter. She also spoke about the images that had started circulating on social media.
“As you all know, in the last week a lot of critical things happened at the shelter,” Zrubek said. “The photos that circulated show the situation unfolding at the shelter, they were neither altered nor inaccurate.”
Zrubek also shared that she had hiked the shelter twice the previous week.
“It was heartbreaking,” Zrubek explained.
City council member Karen Hesse told Zrubek and others in the audience that she understands the concern many people have about the animal shelter.
“I have so many comments that have been passed on to me that I could probably read for another five minutes, but I really want this conversation to continue until we reach a better place,” Hesse said. “We’re not there yet.”
Christopher McGuffin, the verification coordinator at Cassie’s Place, also raised concerns about the animal shelter during the public comment section.
“Even though we all came to this building today, we expected to see some level of cleanliness in the floors, hallways and public access areas,” McGuffin told the council. “And in the shelter right now, that just doesn’t exist.”
Concho Valley Homepage staff contacted the San Angelo Animal Service for a statement prior to the publication of this article. There has been no response yet.