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Animal Shelter Changes Policy Following Backlash From Rescue Groups

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Wichita Police Department
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Following backlash from local animal rescue groups, the Wichita Police Department has revoked part of a new policy and will continue to allow visitors to take photographs of animals in the city’s shelter.

On Friday, it was announced that the animals could no longer be photographed, recorded on video or given treats.

Wichita Police Capt. Doug Nolte says the policy was made in response to rescue organizations taking photos of dogs that "portrayed the animals in light not true to temperament," possibly because they had just been given a treat. And while photos and videos are once again allowed, Nolte says the department's no-treat policy still stands.

He says the discussion has started a larger dialogue about how the shelter addresses the fostering and transfer of pets in and out of the facility. A new set of rules for when and in what parts of the shelter photos of the animal can be taken is in the works. Nolte says his main concern is public safety, the common good and placing as many animals as possible in homes or in rescues.

The shelter received intense criticism and threats after the policy was announced last week. Nolte said he thinks the backlash is the result of a misconception that Wichita's animal control is working against rescue organizations.

“That’s the farthest thing from the truth," Nolte said. "We rely on rescues to help us with our live release rates. What we want to make sure is that rescues and the Wichita Animal Shelter are working together.”

Members of local animal rescues, including Beauties and Beasts and Wichita Animal Action League, plan to attend an upcoming meeting of the Animal Control Advisory Board to voice their concerns about the shelter and other new policies.

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Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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