NBC

Surprise Inspection Uncovers Filthy, Hot Conditions at Broward Animal Shelter

"The consultant that I brought in found that we have big problems at the shelter and things need to change immediately," Mayor Mark D. Bogen said.

After a surprise inspection uncovered filthy conditions at a Broward animal shelter, the county's mayor vowed to not stop until changes happen at the multi-million dollar, three-year-old facility.

For over a year, local animal activists and former volunteers have been complaining about the conditions of the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center, Mayor Mark D. Bogen told NBC 6 in a phone interview.

Bogen sent outside inspectors last Friday to the shelter on Southwest 42nd Street, where he said they found "so much filth, dirt" and that the animals were living in horrible conditions.

"The consultant that I brought in found that we have big problems at the shelter and things need to change immediately," Bogen said.

Activists also claim that while power washing the kennels, workers use water hoses to clean while the dogs are still inside them.

"I am so thankful that he (Bogen) sent some people to take a look, but I think it is just the tip of the iceberg," said Wendy Martin of The Freckles Freedom Fund, a non-profit dog rescue. "Some of the things that we say really belie the underlying problems we have at the shelter which have to do with mismanagement."

Lauralei Combs, the director of the animal shelter, said she walked through the facility on Saturday with the mayor. She said she put in place a detailed operational plan months ago and touted the success in adoptions — 90% of dogs found homes in August and September.

Combs also said she will look into the allegations of the way workers were cleaning the kennels, and if they are true, the workers will be retrained.

"I trust and believe in the mayor and really like to have his support, and when he said he wants to make this the best shelter in the nation, I get very excited," Combs said. "I am up for that goal."

Bogen said he will begin to look into making changes at the shelter.

"I will not be quiet until things get better ... starting next week is going to be the start of a change in the way things are run and the way they treat these animals, and we need to be humane about everything." he said.

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