Animal rescue organizations across the country are helping find new homes for more than 300 animals after an Arkansas shelter closed and its director charged with 285 animal cruelty counts for having kept cats and dogs in appalling conditions.
The Humane Society of the Delta in Helena-West Helena was closed last week after police discovered the shelter’s handling of the animals. Director Reta Merritt Roberts was arrested and charged after officers found rats infesting the property, animals in dirty cages and others running around in the garbage, living in the stench of urine.
Police were first called to the property by the city’s water department, which was trying to collect a debt of more than $ 29,000. After finding out about the condition of the shelter, they also heard from volunteers who allegedly complained about the mistreatment and alleged physical abuse of the animals, and then a search warrant was issued.
According to reports, volunteers told police that dogs that had been moved elsewhere were suffering from heartworms and parvovirus.
“Operation Shutdown” is led by the nonprofit Animal Rescue Corps and the BISSELL Pet Foundation.
“A shelter that was once a champion of animal welfare and fought fiercely against animal cruelty and inhumane treatment, has since become a place of animal accumulation, mistreatment and worse,” said said Helena-West Helena Mayor Mike Smith. “The purpose of this facility was originally created to be animal control for our city and county and this has failed miserably in recent years.”
The ARC and the BISSELL Pet Foundation are supported by the Humane Society of Tulsa, Nashville Humane Association, Cabot Animal Services, Humane Society of Independence County, Arkansas Pet Savers, Animal Rescue New Orleans, ALIVE Rescue Memphis, and Memphis Animal Services. The organizations will transport the cats and dogs to new homes across the country.
“These conditions are grim. Animals should not live in these conditions,” said Tim Woodward, executive director of the CRA. “I saw the rats, I saw the dangerous kennels, the rough objects, the garbage barrels, the standing water – the problems are endless here. The sick, neglected and overcrowded animals that live here deserve so much. better. “
“The BISSELL Pet Foundation and our partners came to Arkansas with a simple mission, and that was to save these lives and save them from these conditions,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “We are extremely grateful to all of the partners who were involved in this major effort, and in particular to Animal Rescue Corps who made room for many of these special pets to give them a second chance at life.”
Organizations support health testing, microchip, and other pet health efforts. Each will receive a full veterinary examination, vaccinations and any other necessary medical treatment.