After each picture, the 100 people strong crowd reacts with sadness and anger.
The words “What part of humane is this?” flash across the screen.
The photos, allegedly taken at the Taylor County Animal Shelter, show what Taylor County SPCA members say are poor conditions, including male and female cats housed together, cats with no food or water, dogs bleeding in cages and more.
“What does it take to make this change?” appears, and the slideshow ends.
Taylor County SPCA and several local animal rescue groups hosted a community meeting last week to discuss conditions at the animal shelter.
Many of those who attended have participated in two protests at the shelter in hopes that their efforts will influence magistrates to keep the shelter open as an adoption facility.
Magistrates agreed on Tuesday night to contract with Adair County to house the county’s stray animals.
LaRue County Fiscal Court renewed its contract earlier this year with the animal shelter. It’s unclear where LaRue County strays will be taken once the Taylor shelter no longer accepts them.
Linda Garner of Taylor Made Rescue moderated Monday’s community meeting, which was open to the public.
She said local rescue group members have witnessed inhumane treatment of animals at the shelter and decided to speak up.
“They couldn’t keep it in anymore,” she said.
Garner said the complaining about the conditions has upset some people and, as a result, they have said there will be no more adoptions at the shelter.
Garner said she believes closing the shelter to adoptions is a bad and hasty decision.
“And defies all logic,” she said.
Garner said the meeting is to let the community know about the rescue groups working to help find stray animals homes.
“We do not have to shut down our shelter,” she said.
Harry Reif, Taylor County SPCA president, told the crowd how the group got started again and how it has requested open records to examine how the shelter is running.
“Many doors have been shut in our face,” he said.
Reif announced that magistrates voted earlier that night to transfer Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris to the County Road Department. The news was followed with applause.
Reif said the SPCA’s long-term goal is to open a no-kill animal shelter and operate it on its own.
He said the SPCA built the shelter about 30 years ago. But in 1999, former Taylor County Sheriff John Shipp began operating the shelter and Harris was hired as director.
Reif said he has received records from the shelter and found many animals aren’t accounted for.
Harris and Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers have denied that animals are “missing” from the shelter.
Reif said it has been implied the SPCA has cost the county $100,000 by requesting open records, which he denies.
Rogers said at a recent meeting that the county has spent $100,000 at the shelter during the last few months, but didn’t say the SPCA was the cause.
Reif said the SPCA members have been accused of bullying their way into the shelter to take photos of conditions there, which he denies. Rogers said the SPCA members were at the shelter at 7 a.m. one morning and forced their way in.
“We maybe stepped through a door they didn’t want us through,” Reif said.
Reif said conditions at the shelter aren’t adequate and state law is constantly violated there. And even though the SPCA’s actions have angered some people, he said, the group hasn’t wavered in its stance.
“It will not stop,” he said. “It’s just growing stronger and stronger as it goes along.”
Kathryn Callahan, a Louisville animal welfare attorney who has become involved with the shelter after being made aware of the accusations made against it, said she encourages the community to not give up on its shelter.
She said she encourages people to form an organized effort to lobby to keep the shelter open to the public.
“I’m going to find out as much information as I can,” she said.
Throughout the night, accusations were made that shelter staff members and some of the county’s elected officials have been negligent in overseeing the shelter and were called derogatory names.
Those officials have publicly denied similar accusations in previous meetings.
Reif said he invites anyone to join the SPCA. For more information about the group, visit its Facebook Page.