Bitter cold has sparked concerns from animal advocates about dogs kept in outdoor pens at the Chester County animal shelter, but county officials say the animals are receiving proper care.
Several animal advocates went to the shelter Monday to drop off straw and blankets and tried to go in the shelter. But other than feeding and cleaning staff, the shelter was closed for the New Year’s Day holiday.
On Facebook and other social media, animal rights advocates expressed their dismay with not being able to help spread the straw and look around. Chester resident Barbara Taylor was one who went to the shelter to drop off hay and blankets. She returned Tuesday.
“We don’t mean any negative. We are trying to get results,” Taylor said.
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After animal advocates went to the shelter, county leaders toured the Chester County Animal Care & Control shelter on New Year’s Day on an invitation from Sheriff Alex Underwood. They found the animals were getting the attention they need.
“The animals in the shelter are being cared for,” said Shane Stuart, Chester County supervisor, who toured the shelter Monday and again Tuesday to show the animals to The Herald.
Some dogs are kept in outside pens, but the outdoor pens have windbreaks, blankets and other amenities. Some pens cannot have straw because the straw has in the past plugged cleaning drains.
In Chester County, the sheriff’s office has responsibility for the animal shelter. Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse and Maj. Dwayne Robinson, who oversees the animal shelter, both said the animals are getting the care they need. The county has had veterinarians look at the outside pens, Robinson said.
“Yes, it is cold out right now, but the animals have shelter,” Robinson said.
Chester County Councilman Alex Oliphant, who toured the shelter Monday, said the animals are getting the care they need. Yet Oliphant, Stuart and police said the shelter, built to handle 60 dogs, is over capacity.
Chester County has had talks for years about the need for a larger, more modern animal shelter, but money remains an issue.