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Kanawha animal shelter suspends euthanasia of animals

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Staff at the Kanawha/Charleston Animal Shelter are working to restore their license to handle euthanasia drugs.

"We can't legally euthanize animals right now," interim shelter director Chelsea Staley said on Wednesday. Staley said the animal shelter lost its Drug Enforcement Agency license to handle euthanasia drugs with the departure last week of former shelter director Donna Clark.

Staley said the shelter has a certified euthanasia technician still on staff, but that the DEA license required to store and administer the drugs was in Clark's name. She said shelter officials have applied to have the license restored in the shelter's name.

Clark said last week she was hoping to get the license transferred before leaving, but did not do so. Clark's last day at the shelter was Sept. 1.

Earlier this summer, a faction of the animal shelter board of directors led by the animal rescue group Dog Bless swept board elections, leading to the resignation of Clark and several other board members. Those on the new animal shelter board hope to lower euthanasia rates through education, spay and neuter programs, animal foster programs and animal rescue groups inside and outside West Virginia.

Some propose an eventual "no kill" policy at the animal shelter, where only the sickest animals that can't be medically treated will be euthanized.

However, the shelter remains crammed with dogs and cats. Staley said Wednesday shelter staff was "up to our armpits" in animals, and still in need of fosters.

Last week, the shelter lowered adoption rates on cats and dogs in an attempt to adopt out more animals.

Staley said adoption rates remain discounted, with fees set at $50 for female dogs, $40 for male dogs, $40 for female cats and $30 for male cats. She said rates are higher for females because it's cheaper and less invasive to neuter a male animal than to spay a female.

The shelter requires that animals be spayed or neutered before they are adopted.

Staley said the shelter hopes to have its drug license back within a few days.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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