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Rescue Groups, Community Members Voice Concerns At Animal Control Board Meeting

The Wichita Animal Control Advisory Board is considering new policies--and asking the city for more support--after more than 100 people came out to a meeting Wednesday in order to voice concerns about the Wichita Animal Shelter.

Earlier this month, a controversial decision to ban photographs and videos of animals at the shelter was overturned following an outcry from animal rescue groups. But community members say there are still concerns at the shelter—including what they say is a lack of medical care and no consistent policy for when to euthanize an animal.

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
Randi Carter, right, and other members of the animal rescue group Beauties and Beasts at the meeting of the Animal Control Advisory Board.

Randi Carter with the rescue group Beauties and Beasts said she was happy to see so many members of the public speak to the advisory board.

“I think everybody watches all the things that pile up," she said. "This wasn’t just built up over the pictures. That was the door for the community to step up. We opened the door for them and they stepped up and said, 'This is it.’”

Advisory Board Chair Stephanie Fisk McCurdy said it’s important for the public to bring issues to the city’s attention.

“I’m very appreciative of all the people that came out today. If we don’t know what’s going on, we’re only so many people, and we can only do so much with what we have in front of us," she said. "The more people that we have that come out and work with us, the better off we’re going to be.”

Still, a lack of staff and low funds mean solutions won’t come easily.

Wichita Police Capt. Doug Nolte told the crowd that the department is conducting a staffing study to see where more resources are needed, including within Animal Control.

“It'll cover animal control and will determine an appropriate level of staffing," he says. "I am a big proponent of saying, 'I would love to have 100 more animal control officers.' That’s not gonna happen. But if you say Doug, how many do you need, I’ve got to be able to answer that too.”

Animal control recently doubled the number of days an animal will be held at the shelter before potentially being euthanized from 3 to 6. They say that gives owners and rescue groups more time to pull an animal from the shelter.

Board members say they will prioritize the feedback from the public before moving forward with other policy changes.  The next advisory board meeting will be held on Sept. 21.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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