ANNA, IL (KFVS) - After receiving a complaint, an animal shelter in Anna, Illinois is being investigated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Court documents show the complaint against P.A.W.S. was filed on February 24. It alleged the animals were not being taken care of by the shelter staff.
Staff could not comment on the investigation.
The shelter is closed until March 14 for vacation, but staff said they are still assisting with adoptions online.
The P.A.W.S. Animal Shelter has been around for more than two decades.
In 2014, the shelter was fined for not having name tags on the cages of the animals.
Recently, some have said the animals would be better off if it was shut down, questioning how the animals are treated.
"It was heartbreaking. I feel like I couldn't do nothing," said Patrick Reinier, who has worked as an animal caretaker at P.A.W.S. for eight years.
Two weeks ago, he said he walked out.
"We would come in where they were just found in the cages we already knew were sick and told people they were sick and then come in and find them gone the next day," said Reinier.
He isn't the only person who left the shelter with a bad feeling.
Former volunteers Karen and Brent Snell say, in their opinion, the animals never spent enough time outside their cages and that made them aggressive.
"There were lots of dogs with behavioral issues, twirling in cages excessive barking," said Brent Snell.
P.A.W.S. Board President Karee Sweitzer disagreed.
"Yes, some of them stay longer than we would like," Sweitzer said. "But out of 5,300 animals that have gone, I'm not saying that it's good, but we keep working for those guys too."
Brent Snell said more should be done to find some of the animals homes.
"To me they ought to shine a light and have as many people involved with it as possible, whether that is volunteers or people adopting animals. I don't understand the resistance to do that," he said.
Sweitzer said they do the best they can with the resources they have.
Every animal that comes in is tested for disease, given a rabies shot, then spayed or neutered. This is why she said P.A.W.S. doesn't seek out foster homes or other shelters for help.
"Why yank them out of their home and bounce them around like an unwanted something that somebody is going to take, because it is the thing to do right now versus we want a forever loving home," she explained.
One dog's story has a lot of people fired up on P.A.W.S.' Facebook page.
Bubba has been at the shelter for eight years, but Sweitzer said there's a good reason.
"True people who want to adopt Bubba to a forever loving home send them down, do an application. We have one application out of all this mess so far, we have one application," she said.
Sweitzer said they hope to start construction on their new facility this June.
She also said that they have had animals die in her care, not due to neglect but rather from untreatable health concerns.