Accusations at one animal shelter affecting others

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Phoojournalist - Mason Watkins

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. — Animal rescue coordinators call it an ethical dilemma: do they accept animals they really shouldn't or do they allow owners to dump them on the side of the road?

It's a question local shelters said they're forced to answer in light of what's happening at the McCracken County Humane Society.

After allegations of improperly euthanizing 8,000 animals at the McCracken County Humane Society, McCracken County animal owners who don't want their pets anymore don't want to take them to that shelter, either.

People at animal shelters in other counties said it's creating a real problem. They're only supposed to take pets from their own county but that's not stopping McCracken County residents from dropping off unwanted animals.

Some are playful, others sleepy but all of them are adorable and very adoptable.

"They'll stay with us until we find a home for them," Marshall County Animal Shelter foster, rescue, and adoption coordinator Misti Wagner said.

That new policy makes the Marshall County Animal Shelter a very popular place for pet owners to drop off unwanted animals, and even more so lately.

"A lot of people from McCracken have been coming actually into our office and just saying, 'This is what we got and if you don't take it, we'll dump it,' which is not a good situation," Wagner said. "We can't have that."

Misti Wagner has cats in every corner. Even her office is full of them. She said many should be at the McCracken County Humane Society but their former owners refused to take them there.

"They'll say, "We don't want to take them there because we know they'll be killed and we want to bring them here because we hear you guys are adopting them out and we want them to have the best chance,'" Wagner said.

She said websites like Facebook and PetFinder changes everything. About 90 percent of their adoptions stem from websites like that and every animal gets their very own Facebook page.

In fact, Facebook lured the Liners into the shelter Monday. They're pretty sure which pet they want but it was a tough decision.

"I saw the whole list of pictures and she was on there and she just kind of tugged on my heart," Tonya Liner said of a kitten named Candi.

After meeting all the pets, they decide on Candi.

But there are still so many. Wagner hopes something in McCracken County changes soon because she is running out of room.

"We're just trying to do the best we can do and carry a little bit of the burden because Marshall County's got to take care of Marshall County," Wagner said.

Other places like the Marshall County Humane Society and the Graves County Animal Shelter told Local 6 they're dealing with the same thing. They're at maximum capacity and getting a lot of McCracken County animals.

At the Marshall County Animal Shelter, they just had a big adopt a dog campaign, so they have room for a few more dogs. It's the cats that are everywhere.

Misti Wagner recommends the Project Hope Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in Metropolis, Illinois, or Creatures Great and Small in Paducah if you want to be sure the animals aren't euthanized.

If you'd like to learn more about the Marshall County Animal Shelter, click here.

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