Director of no-kill animal shelter speaks out after complaint fi - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Director of no-kill animal shelter speaks out after complaint filed

(Source: MGNOnline/WHYY Delaware Tonight) (Source: MGNOnline/WHYY Delaware Tonight)
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - The state of Missouri filed a complaint against a Cape Girardeau County no-kill animal shelter.

According to a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office, the civil case involves the Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and its operator, Alice Wybert.

The complaint alleges Safe Harbor violated the state's Animal Care Facilities Act by not providing adequate veterinary care, placing unconditioned cats in the same primary area, inadequate health and husbandry practices, and inadequate record keeping.

Investigators with the Missouri Department of Agriculture were on site taking inventory and doing inspections on Friday. A member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was also on site.

"It's spite, and in my way of thinking it's wrong," Wybert said. "The complaints that were written were on side of the story. Everything has been corrected, everything has been corrected. But, that wasn't in there, that wasn't said because it's not sensational."

There has been a recent shakeup on the board of Safe Harbor. Wybert says three member have been voted off. Those three, however, still consider themselves members. They say they stand by the action taken by the attorney general's office and say they welcome the Department of Agriculture's investigation.

In the petition filed on Oct. 22 by the Missouri Attorney General's Office, one count lists inadequate veterinary care.

It states that several animals showed signs of illness and were directed by animal welfare officials to be seen by a veterinarian.

Some of the animals then died and allegedly Wybert could not provide documentation of a date of death or that any of the animals that appeared ill had ever visited a vet.

A second count alleges that Wybert placed more than 12 unconditioned cats in the same primary area. In the petition it says:

  • On Oct. 10, 2013 - 17 cats were housed in the isolation room, 26 cats in room two, 26 cats in room three and 28 cats in room four
  • On Dec. 11, 2013 - 28 cats were housed room two, 34 cats in room three and 32 cats in room four
  • On May 15, 2014 - 33 cats were housed in room two, 42 cats in room three, 32 cats room four, 18 cats in the "wild room," and 18 cats in the Feline Immunosuppressant Virus room
  • On Aug. 7, 2014 - 40 cats were housed in room one, 34 cats in room two, 35 cats in room three and 24 cats in room four
  • On Sept. 24 - 27 cats were housed in room one, 30 cats in room two, 33 cats in room three and 29 cats in room four
The third count alleges inadequate health and husbandry practices.

It means Wybert was required and allegedly failed to:

  • Spot-clean daily and sanitize every two weeks or more often as needed on all hard surfaces in the facility that have contact with dogs and cats to prevent accumulation of excreta and reduce disease hazards.
  • Ensure that indoor facilities housing animals are sufficiently ventilated at all times when animals are present to provide for their health and well being, and to minimize odors, drafts, ammonia levels and moisture condensation.
  • Not house kittens four months of age or less in the same enclosure with adult cats that are not the mother or foster mother.
  • Ensure that interior surfaces and any surfaces that come into contact with animals must be free of jagged or sharp points that might cause injury.
  • Ensure that all walls, boxes, houses, dens and other surfaces of sheltered housing facilities that come into contact with animals be impervious to moisture.
The fourth count alleges inadequate record keeping, meaning Wybert was required to and allegedly did not identify all cats sheltered on the premises, with multiple options for identification, on more than one occasion.

Following a court hearing on Thursday afternoon, Wybert reportedly agreed not to take in any new animals, or adopt out any animals, for the next 30 days.

During that time, the Department of Agriculture will conduct inspections of the shelter.

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