A lack of heat inside the Chowchilla Animal Shelter is fueling some concern about animal safety. Advocates are accusing city leaders of leaving many homeless animals out in the cold.
Stray dogs await a new home inside the Chowchilla animal shelter. Even though they're not roaming streets, some say the animals aren't getting the care they need.
Former shelter volunteer Nancy Jacoby says, "Animals were not freezing to death. I will say no animals were freezing to death, but I saw animals uncomfortable. I saw animals shivering and waiting for the sun to come up."
Most of the dogs are kept outside in kennels, even during cold, rainy weather. Nancy Jacoby used to volunteer at the shelter. She says the tarps now covering the cages aren't enough to keep animals warm.
"It's just basic humanity. If we can't care about the needy animals in our community, how can we expect to take care of anything."
Inside the facility, it's not much warmer. For three years, animal advocates have asked that a permanent heater be installed. Tuesday night, the city finally granted that request. Police Chief Jay Varney says he'll also address outside conditions.
Chief Varney says, "We're adopting a policy where we're not going to house any animals outside during November 15th through February 15th, during the more in-climate time of year here."
Jacoby says what's even more concerning than a lack of heat, is a lack of vet care.
"Animals shouldn't be coming in with dangling legs that don't get seen. I have seen that, yes. And there was one dog that had mange, came in got treated and then for months after just declined, declined, declined, to the point where the city's appointee thought he was going to die."
"I've heard those accusations and we've responded to them appropriately. We do think our animals here are properly taken care of and they do get vet care as needed," says Chief Varney.
Both sides say they'd like to put what's happened in the past behind them and work together. They will be discussing ways to move forward and to make more improvements at the shelter.
Chief Varney says the city will be adopting a new policy to put all animals inside during the winter months. That policy is expected to kick in next week.