DeLAND, Fla. - City leaders and a DeLand animal shelter owner who was accused of animal mistreatment have reached an agreement to reopen the shelter, but city must be involved.
The Animal Rescue Konsortium had 135 animals, including 100 cats and 26 dogs were removed from the shelter two weeks ago after police received a number of calls reporting the animals were in danger because of horrible conditions.
The agreement states the owner won't be charged criminally and she can work with the city to reopen her shelter. But all animals seized in the rescue will stay at the shelters they are currently being kept at.
"I'm very happy with it," said shelter owner Maggie Hall. "The city finally decided we should sit down and talk about the situation instead of a wasteful expenditure of taxpayers' money."
At the hearing, officials said the shelter had too many animals stuffed into cages and not enough litter boxes. Veterinarians also found feces in the walls, maggots in the food bowls and in the kitchen where volunteers ate.
But city officials said they felt she was trying to do the right thing and that things got out of hand with not enough staffing and costs to run the shelter.
"My heart was breaking knowing that these animals were in this condition for so long," said Karen Clark, who told Local 6 she had been complaining about the conditions for weeks under code enforcement cracked down.
Three homeless people who lived at the shelter and worked there in exchange were also ordered out. One of the workers took the stand on Monday, saying it was impossible for her to care for the animals by herself that she wasn't getting proper help.
The city attorney said the volunteers weren't properly trained and they testified that they had no training, just a love for animals.
The dogs and cats will be staying at five different volunteer shelters in Volusia county.
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