City of ferris contracted with non-profit shelter - Animal shelter gone to the dogs
The Ellis County Press
FERRIS – The smell of feces, the sight of injured animals and a no vacancies sign were just some of the sights and smells you would have experienced if you pulled up to the city of Ferris Animal Shelter Saturday, March 27.
Safe Harbor Foundation, also known as D.A.R.E.S.S. according to the owner’s profile listings online, is a non-profit, no kill shelter and a Nevada public charity corporation. SHF was awarded the contract to help manage the city of Ferris’ animal control during a unanimous vote Monday, Nov. 23 of last year during a called meeting.
Place four Councilman Gary Ross was absent during the vote.
Cody Sims, 22, just moved up to Ferris about 45 days ago from south of Houston and is now acting as the "new assistant manager" according to his post on Craig’s list seeking adoptions for the shelter.
There were three litters of puppies out front and one dog in particular looked like it had been in a major dog fight.
In fact, the dog had.
Sims claimed there are so many dogs right now he just couldn’t take in anymore.
"When there are a number of dogs together at once they start forming a pack mind mentality," said Sims.
"This one here was in with another who got rallied up after seeing another dog loose about a week or so ago."
While claiming he doesn’t "live" on site, Sims claimed he was there 24/7 .
"There are so many I try to let them out and play a little each day."
According to one witness who wished to remain anonymous, claims Sims told her he was only allowed to let them out for 15 minutes a day before going back in their cages with the others but said he didn’t feel right in doing that so he lets them out for an hour if possible.
Another witness adopted two cats Saturday only to find she needed to rush them to vet.
"One of the cat’s tails had been amputated there at the shelter and it appeared to have gangrene possibly."
"My vet suggested I eutha-nize one of the two cats we adopted from Ferris. The vet said the cat’s right hind leg and pelvis were fractured, and the nerves in the left hind leg damaged. The vet said the fracture is 3 to 6 months old. The cat drags itself with the front two paws. And, under the crusted filth/diarrhea/pus, they found a pressure sore. The pressure sore is from the cat dragging itself on the fractured leg."
There are several claims there were more than 100 or so animals in the building Saturday, March 27 with around nine dogs per a small cage.
Shawna Vonda, a co-owner and/or member of James Vonda’s tribe, claimed there were 107 dogs and 23 cats as of March 24 on her MySpace profile.
Executive Director James Vonda was present at the city council meetings promising a "safe and well run shelter for unwanted animals around the city."
According to his MySpace page, his name is James Soaring Eagle, a master of his household and is looking for slaves/sub-missives for immediate prospecting into his extended tribal family.
Sims denied an Ellis County Press reporter inside because he needed to "clean up a little" before any pictures could be taken for a story and suggested the reporter come back Monday.
Monday, March 29 there was no answer from anyone at the shelter with the gates double padlocked.
The place was well kept in appearance from the outside, a large U-haul had been removed and the odor coming from outside smelled like cleaner of some sort.
City Manager Eric Strong said he wasn’t aware of the all the allegations and thought some of them might be a lot of hearsay and half-truths.
Strong said he had noticed an overcrowding problem but, it wasn’t to the extent he was hearing now, last time he visited a few weeks ago.
" I got a phone call yesterday [Sunday, March 28]afternoon around 1 p.m. of the conditions and called the shelter immediately," said Strong.
"They had 50 dogs and 20 puppies, but as of this morning [March 29] they are down to 35 dogs and no puppies."
Strong hasn’t been able to meet with the owners at all yet because they moved the rest of the animals during the night to a place they own in Oklahoma.
"If someone has been living there, that is going to be put to a stop immediately. We weren’t aware that was occurring, but it is not acceptable," said Strong.
The city of Ferris didn’t run a personnel back ground check on the owners but did check to see if they had the proper non-profit certification and checked with city admin from their previous location.
Sims said he did seek volunteer help from high school students until a parent ran a check on him and said his name came up as a sex offender.
He claimed the guy was a few inches taller than him, weighed about 30 pounds more and wasn’t him at all. Just had the same full name.
Councilmember Carol Wright said she had noticed the misspellings and the appearance of the shelter on her way to Dallas last week and brought this to the attention of Strong this past weekend.
Wright was not aware of the conditions of the animals until she was told detailed information from various visits.
According to a witness, Sims said if an animal was brought in with a severe injury they would just "let nature take its course."
Misty Clark, known for adopting out many animals to the city and bringing national media attention to Mayor Pro – Tem Bill Pardue’s "shock factor;" a mandatory euthanasia policy that has since been withdrawn, is glad she doesn’t live in Ferris but feels for the animals.
"I keep on thinking I am in the Twilight Zone," said Clark.
Strong said the city only pays up to $6,500 in utilities for the shelter a year and they were able to receive $5,000 worth of improvements to the shelter.
"Understand that many of the animals they take in are not in great shape. Frequently, they have been out in the wild for a period of time. So, it isn’t always fair to assume that because an animal is in bad shape at the shelter it is due to something they have done," said Strong.
According to a witness dropping of a food donation, Monday March 29, the shelter appeared to have been cleaned thoroughly, clean litter, cedar in the dogs cages, fresh food and water ( many claim wasn’t there before) late in the afternoon.
According to city contract, the shelter wasn’t able to accept anymore animals Saturday because they need to have two cages readily available for the city in case of a rapid animal needing to be quarantined.