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As leadership changes are made, state inspectors cite Galax animal shelter in new report

‘We’re underway to address the concerns the inspector had’

We continue our 10 News investigation on issues happening at the Galax animal shelter.
We continue our 10 News investigation on issues happening at the Galax animal shelter.

GALAX, Va. – Officials continue to make changes at a local animal shelter after it was criticized for allegedly fostering an unhealthy environment that led to permanent injury and several dead animals.

10 News obtained copies of an unannounced December inspection at the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Animal Shelter. It lists improper euthanasia filings, unkempt facilities, untreated sick animals and more.

[Galax officials respond to complaint of alleged negligent management at animal shelter]

“We’re underway to address the concerns the inspector had,” said Galax city manager Keith Barker.

Barker told 10 News in December he was unaware of some issues but was working to correct them.

One of those changes would be the demotion of the shelter manager in question, Jessica Boyer, whom we have learned resigned sometime after our first report.

WSLS 10 News tried to speak with Boyer but she declined to comment.

“Our intentions were to reach out to Jessica and find out what was going on down there in regard to all the sick animals and find out what resources we could bring to the situation,” said Sue Bell with Homeward Trails.

Homeward Trails, an animal advocacy group out of Arlington, slammed the shelter and its director. They alleged the shelter’s director encouraged the community to shoot cats. A dog from the shelter also apparently attacked a person.

Bell and her team sent Barker a lengthy report with evidence and full of allegations they said led to this “culture of problems.”

“It was a lot of cleaning issues still, some paperwork issues and other items like that. We’ve been working on that constantly,” said Barker.

The shelter was also cited in September for violating sanitation codes.

In 2020, Barker said the shelter took in over 2,000 cats which was too much for them to handle. He believes overcrowding led to overwhelming the previous team.

Barker said new management is tying up loose ends.

They are also working with area rescues and the vet of records to prevent overcrowding and other issues at the facility.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors Virginia Today on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.