The Norfolk Animal Shelter was found to be in violation of state veterinary care and infectious disease rules, according to a letter sent to city officials on July 7.
During a June 22 inspection of the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center on Saber Road, state Bureau of Veterinary Services inspectors found the shelter was not providing “adequate and appropriate veterinary care” to the animals being housed. The inspector cited the city for two violations.
City of Norfolk officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said she believed the city’s “no-kill” policy was to blame for the violations. She said the policy has been known to cause overcrowding and can lead to inadequate veterinary care, the spread of disease and a lack of oversight.
“Norfolk’s animals and taxpayers depend on our urban shelter to provide refuge during this particularly busy time,” Nachminovitch said. “We hope these quotes are a wake-up call to our city officials.”
Inspectors found an animal in the shelter that had been limping for a week and another that had been dragging its hind legs for several days. Neither had received veterinary care, in violation of state rules. Shelters are required to provide veterinary care within 24 to 48 hours for animals that are lame or lack an appetite, the inspection letter says.
The inspection also cited the shelter for failing to isolate animals suspected of having an infectious disease. Inspectors found cats being co-housed in single-animal isolation rooms, according to the report. The state report also says animals placed in isolation rooms were not taken to a veterinarian within the required 24-hour period.
The shelter was administering medication to animals with suspected communicable diseases without written permission from a veterinarian, another violation, according to the report.
If the shelter does not take action to address these issues, enforcement action, including potential civil penalties, could result, the inspection letter states. The city is required to submit a written response on how it intends to comply.
The facility is a “no-kill” shelter, which means that over 90% of animals brought to the shelter are rescued rather than euthanized. He takes care of 400 to 600 animals every month, and more than 5,000 animals a year, according to his website.
Daniel Berti, [email protected]