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Boston animal shelter under scrutiny for neglectful situation undergoing changes

Camilla was found in terrible shape as were other dogs at the city run Rosalindale shelter.
Camilla was found in terrible shape as were other dogs at the city run Rosalindale shelter.
Animal Rescue League of Boston

According to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, a recent visit to the Roslindale facility of the Boston Animal Control, discovered one of the dogs associated with a recent legal case was in terrible condition. The organization's Facebook page stated the following:

"One of the dogs from the case, Camilla was very emaciated with sores on her body. Her condition and other observations made by our staff raised so many concerns, we brought them to the immediate attention of Mayor Marty Walsh."

An investigation was immediately launched based on an email detailing the disturbing conditions of the city run shelter.

Camilla's condition was described as:

• She was a body condition score of 2 out of a possible 9 on the Purina Body condition scoring system. This is the second to worst score on the chart “Too thin: Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.

• She had open bleeding sores on her body. There was a thin coating of blood smeared within her kennel from cracked and bleeding pressure sores and ear flap sores.

• She weighed 24# on admission to our shelter on Friday. She has already gained 1.5# in 3 days. This reflects either weight gain from water consumption (if she was dehydrated on intake), or from food consumption. Our staff veterinarian thinks that her body condition score has already improved to a 3/9, or very close to it.

• When Camilla was removed from the cruelty scene in December of 2011, her weight was 31.8# with a 4/9 body condition score (normal).

• She displayed stereotypical behavior in the BAC shelter that did not improve with a trial of Prozac. There are other medications and more importantly husbandry & enrichment methods that can prevent dogs from going “kennel crazy”. It does not appear that other medication or management approaches were attempted."

As a result of the investigation, 35 animals were immediately transferred to other facilities. The other 78 animals were examined by vets. Disturbing reports centered around no bedding for the animals, no toys, little medical and outdated medicines, stale food, mismanaged record keeping and constant dog howling. Cats were forced to live on wet newspapers. Dogs were observed soaking wet, indicative of the animals being left in the cages as the shelters were hosed down to clean.

According to the Boston Globe, the mismanagement and neglect resulted in the suspension of acting director Mark Giannangelo and the appointment of new interim animal control director John Meaney. During an interview on Friday, Meaney said he is trying to make it better for the animals:

“We’re naming the pets. Each one is going to be given an identity. To me, it’s important. You give it a name while it’s under our care. It gives a personal touch."

There have been daily meetings with the staff according to Meaney, who stated how much the workers care about the animals. Although conditions are still far from perfect with dogs constantly barking in deafening conditions (a sign of stress), it is hoped life will become better for these innocent victims.

Volunteers help to socialize the animals and play with them.

Of concern, however are the stray dogs still kept in the rear of the shelter. While dogs ready for adoption have toys, dog runs, beds, and baby pools, the stray dogs are kept separated in an outside rocky, fenced area with no toys or balls.

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