President of Jackson animal shelter says facility will reopen - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

President of Jackson animal shelter says facility will reopen

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - The president of Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary in Jackson says she anticipates the shelter will resume normal operations after meeting certain requirements.

The framework for a consent judgment is awaiting court approval, according to F. Patrick Davis, L.L.C., who represents the shelter and its former director Alice Wybert.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has been investigating the shelter since Oct. 2014 after claims of inadequate health care for the animals.

The shelter's former director, Alice Wybert, pleaded not guilty in April to two charges of animal abuse claiming she did not provide adequate veterinary care for two cats in 2014.

Davis said the shelter will be under new leadership. Wybert has retired and is training a new director.

Connie Schmidt, president of Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, said the shelter will adopt out dogs and move its cats to only no kill shelters so the facility can be cleaned.

"Everybody's in such question of what's going on with us and we are fully set on continuing on and being better than we were before," said Schmidt. 

She said she's confident the no kill shelter will return full it's original dream. 

"Once we get the place all cleaned down we will start accepting animals again everything is absolutely on the up and up," said Schmidt.  

Schmidt and managers say they plan to run a tight ship, both financially and with the care of animals as first priority. 

"If you had any idea how much we love our animals there wouldn't be any question," said Schmidt.  

"The animals deserve a second chance just as many people do," said Manager Montica Babers. "I am excited to lead this new venture." 

Meanwhile Alice Wybert has retired and former board members still have concerns.

"They need someone out there keeping an eye on things and the finances there and making sure it never goes where it is now," said Teri Taylor, a former Board Member.  

"There was a slight issue with over crowding and we have addressed that problem and we are in the process of correcting that," said Schmidt.  

Schmidt said it's unclear exactly when the shelter will reopen after they meet requirements. She hopes the community will see not only a bright future for Safe Harbor, but also strong integrity. 

"One set back has almost destroyed us and we can't have that," said Montica Babers. "The animals deserve better." 

"We just hope the community gets behind us and supports us as well with donations and shopping at the thrift store," said Schmidt. 

The shelter's cats are being moved to no kill shelters in Missouri and other states so the repairs can be made to the facility and it can be thoroughly cleaned.

Safe Harbor opened in 2005 as a no kill shelter for dogs and cats.

They will start moving forward moving animals to other, no kill *only* shelters on Saturday morning.

Eventually, animals will be up for adoption again. 

According to her attorney, Alice Wybert is back in court on May 26. 

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