McCRACKEN Co, Ky -
More than 85 dogs fill nearly every space at the McCracken County Animal Shelter. Since February, the facilities has changed slightly. New kennels were built, new drains installed, and shelters put in every outdoor cage. Yet Monday morning five dogs were found dead.
The McCracken County Sheriff's Department is investigating and had all the dogs sent to a facility in Hopkinsville for a necropsy, the animal version of an autopsy. Pathologist released a preliminary report showing the dogs died of heat stroke.
Ryan Brown, hired as the shelter director 6 weeks ago, told Local 6 he doesn't understand how. He pointed out the report also says all of the dogs were in good health prior to death. That wouldn't have been the case if they had suffered from long-term heat exhaustion.
"The conditions Sunday night were no different than the conditions all last week," he said. He added that as a result, all of the cooling measures were also in place.
Eight dogs were in the temporary building, separate from the main building.Brown said that's because they are all quarantined. All the dogs have owners, but have also been deemed vicious by animal control. They're all waiting court cases.
Chuck Odom had two dogs at the shelter that were among the ones that died. He said he'll never get the chance now to prove they weren't dangerous. He appreciates Brown's willingness to talk with him, but doesn't buy the story.
"How did they die in the middle of the night from heat exposure? It doesn't add up to me,"said Odom.
Brown said the only further explanation he can offer is one of the dogs has broken its cage and tried to get out of the building. While he attempted that, he and four other dogs worked themselves into a frenzy.
According to Brown, the same person comes daily to clean the cages in the quarantines area, and someone was there Sunday afternoon. He said none of them showed signs of distress Sunday.
"I think at the very least they under estimated the heat," said Odom. "I do not know if these people can handle the responsibility of maintainingthese animal shelters."
Brown suggests anyone with concerns come out to see the facility for themselves. He's adamant the shelter is safe, but does admit the animals would be happier if they were adopted and in homes.
Both the sheriff's investigation and an internal investigation are ongoing.