The Clarksdale, MS Animal Shelter has been hell for animals for years. Each time I visited the excuse was they were getting new kennels which would help alleviate the intense over-crowding. The sickening irony is that this "no kill" shelter is in the hands of the Clarksdale Humane Society.
Well, I paid them another visit last week and they have more kennels - many more. It's not as crowded, but I challenge you to find a single healthy animal in the entire facility. Scores of dogs are ravaged by mange, infected eyes, and stressed beyond words.
The entrance is wall to wall with cats, with some pups and small dogs interspersed. Local jail inmates fill the seating area and an inmate greeted us and showed us around. After the guided tour from the inmate, I finally found and spoke with two people that were probably staff, although they didn't identify themselves as such.
The second room was crammed full. The walls were lined with fixed cages while the floor was covered with ring pens which surrounded the screened-in cattery. How the cats could endure the noise and stress was beyond me.
The floor was smeared with feces. Loose juvenile pups covered in mange roamed from cage to cage and pen to pen and greeted us.
One pen contained 5-6 completely naked five month-old pups. The dogs that weren't naked to partially naked had patchy rough looking coats. Clearly mange was ravaging the population. All left untreated.
A smaller room in the back held crated dogs. Crate upon crate upon crate. In a bottom crate a totally naked dog managed to thump her tail while gunk oozed from her nearly closed eyes.
Outside we were greeted by at least ten dogs running free on the property. Some displayed aggression and none looked healthy. Outside kennel after kennel of large rough looking dogs. So very sad. At least half of the kennels had zero shade with temperatures in the 90s or higher every day. Imagine five dogs trying to crowd into two barrels, igloos or houses to get out of the sun. It was absolute torture to watch.
I could go on and on. I'll just say we plan to join forces with other organizations and veterinarians who will speak out and possibly the health department and State Animal Board of Health to stop this insanity. The health department may engage as the sarcoptic mange could easily be transmitted to humans who dare to set foot on the property.
We grabbed a mom and three puppies - all suffering from advance, untreated sarcoptic mange. Their lives have already gotten better and we'll hopefully provide a happy update to this sad story soon in a future post.