LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – The Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to hire a third-party firm to audit public money that it provides to the Animal Foundation shelter.
The vote came after weeks of complaints from animal advocates who accused the shelter of overcrowding, staffing issues, and inhumane treatment of animals in its care.
On Sept. 30, a dog that previously was at the Animal Foundation tested positive for Canine Pneumovirus and Strep Zoo. The following month, the shelter said 77 dogs are showing signs of Canine Pneumovirus, a highly contagious respiratory illness.
Hilarie Grey, the foundation’s chief executive officer, defended the shelter, saying intake has gone up 40% over the past two years.
“We all have a difficult hiring environment right now, and when I was interviewed by the board, it was expressed to me was during COVID, there were challenges to staffing, challenges to funding,” Grey said.
The motion to audit the shelter was brought forth by councilwoman Victoria Seaman. This is the first known audit from the city, which has a contract with the shelter until 2025. It contributes about $3 million to the shelter every year to operate.
City staff said the shelter has been in compliance, and that issues have been resolved within 48 hours.
“We have rebuilt our veterinary staff, we have a phenomenal chief veterinarian who has been the incident commander, overseeing the disease management, the actual situation that we have right now, doing all the right things, consulting with all the right experts, who are national renowned experts in disease management, and protocol, we are isolating animals to make sure that the disease doesn’t spread,” Grey added.
There was talk about terminating the contract with the city, but a new facility would have to be built, which could cost up to $30 million.
It’s unknown when the audit will be complete, but the city plans to provide a quarterly report on the conditions at the animal shelter.
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