The system used in the city of Ellisville, MS to house stray animals is bizarre and a living hell for the cats and dogs trapped inside. Lost pets have little chance of being reunited with their owners, and abandoned animals have zero chance of being adopted. Animal activists want the city’s mayor to make immediate changes.
Measuring only 5.6 square miles, the small city of Ellisville says it cannot afford an animal shelter or provide pet adoptions for strays. Instead the town places homeless pets in a “holding facility”¯ for five days. The isolated cinderblock building has two small windows and no air conditioning and is reportedly filled with small rusted cages.
If an owner doesn’t claim an animal during the five day period, the pet is sent to a local veterinarian to be euthanized.
One part time employee runs the “holding facility” and is responsible for keeping it clean and providing the cats and dogs with food and water. To save money, that person is employed by an agency located outside of town.
A lack of scheduled hours for the facility makes it next to impossible for owners to claim their lost pets, and conditions inside the building, along with the summer heat, have activists calling the holding area a “hell on earth.”
Mayor Tim Waldrup defended the actions of his city and said the “holding facility” meets all of the current laws.
“We do not have air conditioning, but we have adequate fans in there and we have a holding area that we put them,” said Mayor Waldrup. “You have to understand this is a five day hold facility until the owner comes to claim the animal.”
This is not the first time the holding facility in Ellisville has made the news. In 2007 activists brought the poor conditions of the building to the attention of the public. At the time Mayor Waldrup agreed the town needed a new facility, but he backed away from the project calling it too expensive for the town when bids of $45,000 to $70,000 came in for a new building. The mayor now says a new facility will be built in the next 12 months.
In the meantime Mayor Waldrup and the city of Ellisville have two angels that have come forward on behalf of the animals.
A newly organized animal rescue group has offered to open and run a humane animal shelter in the town that will include adoptions. Southern Cross Animal Rescue met with city officials and the mayor to propose the joint venture.
“We wanted to let them know we’re coming into the area,” said Kristin Viscione, Southern Cross Animal Rescue. “We wanted them to know we are ready to help and we hope for their cooperation to work with the city and improve things.”
Mayor Waldrup’s reaction to the group’s offer was a bit confusing. On one hand he said he planned to build a new animal facility, but he told Southern Cross Animal Rescue that he would not use taxpayer dollars to build one for them to use.
The mayor has also been receiving help from a second angel who’s been quietly working behind the scenes. Veterinarian Kimberly Martin from Ellisville Animal Medical Center confirmed the city brings the cats and dogs to her office for euthanasia after their five day waiting period has expired. Unbeknownst to city officials, Dr. Martin does not euthanize most of the animals. She and her staff offer the cats and dogs for adoption to their patients and the public and often take them home themselves. She has only euthanized a few of the cats that were feral or animals that were aggressive. Dr. Martin pays for the care of the animals “out of her own pocket¯.”
With these two angels jumping in to save homeless animals, the city of Ellisville needs to take a serious look at its moral compass.
Thousands of animal lovers have already called on Mayor Waldrup to make immediate changes for the cats and dogs in his town. Lost pets and stray animals deserve to stay in humane conditions that allow their owners to easily find them and for new owners to give them a new life.
Please Take Action: Shut Down Hellish “Holding Facility” For Strays In Ellisville, MS
Photo Credit: KlearchosKapoutsis