ROANOKE, Va. – Many of you want answers after disturbing images of the Angels of Assisi shelter in Roanoke began circulating online.
“My reaction was heartbreaking at first,” Morgan Manetta, an avid dog lover, said.
Manetta was utterly shocked to see images online of a food bowl with bugs.
Another image shows damaged walls animals reside in, and another that’s raising red flags is blood shown in one of the kennels.
“I wanted to take it with a grain of salt, but once I realized those pictures were really real, it broke my heart it’s completely unacceptable,” Manetta said.
Staff with Angels of Assisi said the photos were taken out of context.
“It wasn’t the whole story,” Executive Director Lisa O’Neil said.
O’Neil said people were shocked about a dog, Max, being put down about two weeks ago. She said Max had progressive bone cancer, and it was not healthy to keep him alive.
“We didn’t want Max to go into a kennel, he had known a family, he had gone into a home, he got nice treats here and we decided to euthanize him, and I know that was painful for a lot of people and we apologize for that,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said the second dog, Tucker, had to be put down after he and another shelter dog, Rufus, got into a fight before going on a walk.
Staff was able to treat Rufus’ injuries, but Tucker, unfortunately, passed away on the operating table.
“Tucker did not die by getting killed by another dog he died under anesthesia that happened in our vet clinic with our veterinarian staff,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said they are looking at Tucker’s situation and will learn how to be better.
She added that staff cleaned kennels and walked the dogs every morning, and they’re making do with the facility.
“It’s no secret in Roanoke that we have a dumpy old building. It’s 94 years old, and it’s taken us longer than we initially thought,” O’Neil said.
However, animal lovers want more transparency.
“People are not allowed to go back and view the dogs, they have to make appointments and leave them at the front, why can’t you go back there and look at the dogs,”
10 News asked to go into the kennel area, but we were denied access.
You can watch our full interview with shelter staff below.
If you wish to view some of the photographs and posts made about the situation, click here. (Warning: some of these images and posts may be graphic.)