Chesterfield Co. Animal Shelter looks to rebuild tarnished image

Published: Jul. 23, 2013 at 9:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2013 at 9:25 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A South Carolina Animal Shelter is resurrecting its image after dogs were unlawfully put down by shelter employees at a nearby landfill in 2011.

Back then, the sheriff's department run-shelter caught unwanted national attention.

It's all smiles, Tuesday, at the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter, but this wasn't always the case.

"It was dirty and the animals that were here at the time when I took over, we had no idea where they came from," said Shelter Danielle Bowe.

Bowe was brought on board in October of 2011, just seven months after State Humane Society investigators discovered that then employees unlawfully euthanized more than 20 dogs by shooting them in a nearby landfill.

After that, the State Humane Society required several major changes to the shelter including a quarantine area, sanitized and ventilated kennels, and a system of accountability when handling controlled substances for animals.

Those drugs are now under tight security and are watched at all times by cameras.

"I can tell you who pulled it up, for what, when, everything. I keep everything documented," said Bowe.

The shelter is now home to 87 dogs, 52 cats and a horse named Savannah.

State Humane Society officials are weighing in on the shelter's improvements.

"It's a completely different place. I mean it's the same property and building but it's a different place from when I started with them," said South Carolina Humane Society Director Eddie O'Cain.

Now Bowe wants the public to put its faith back into the shelter and give the new staff a shot at redemption.

"It's not the same. We're new people. We do things different. We're in it for the right reasons," said Bowe.

"From where it was to where it is today, It's a brand new place," said O'Cain.

Here's proof, since the takeover in 2011, Bowe says the euthanasia rate at the shelter has dropped from 98% to 7%.

The Chesterfield County Animal Shelter is now fully operated by the county.

Bowe says 1,700 dogs were rescued last year.

To find out how you can adopt or rescue a pet from this shelter, click here.

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