By Steve Large

YUBA CITY, Calif. (CBS13) — Authorities are investigating whether the startling number of animal deaths at a county shelter can be considered evidence of criminal abuse and negligence.

According to a grand jury report, about two-thirds of the cats and one-third of the dogs brought into the care of the Sutter County Animal Shelter die from sickness, and conditions for the animals are extremely poor: Rotting food, a lack of medical treatment and rat infestations are just some of the problems listed.

CBS13 was invited to see the problems in October and found rats nibbling and peeking out of the walls, and reports of difficulties at the shelter have been coming for at least four years.

In the past, representatives blamed poor funding for their conditions and hope to eventually move to a new facility, but the relocation project is still only being discussed.

No representatives from the shelter returned our calls Monday.

Sheriff J. Paul Parker is well aware of the dire reports and said his department is investigating whether the people who run it are committing a crime by abusing animals with what he calls deliberate indifference.

“You have to know what you’re doing and purposefully not take action,” Parker said.

The shelter can’t be shut down immediately because the county has no place to send the displaced animals.

Comments (11)
  1. George Lau says:

    This is a real shame that the bureaucrats charged with protecting these helpless animals are abusing the very animals they should protect by law. The only real deterrence should be firing of a few of the highly paid “do nothing bureaucrats” responsible for this inexcusable crime. THE SPCA hopefully is monitoring this situation including all animal lovers in America.A heart felt thanks to CBS 13 for exposing this heinous crime to all viewers and readers.That’s why now I only watch 13 as my TV news source!

  2. Heidi B. says:

    I believe these county officials should be tarred and feathered then put in the county jail especially filled with hungry rodents /rats to have a taste of such living conditions! Now is a good time to rid from the county of unproductive and expensive employees that does not give a rat’s ass about their fiduciary responsibilities to the tax-payers! I hope the sheriff department & District attorney are not giving a white-wash to their investigation. WE are indeed watching what’s happening to the death of these adorable and pitiful animals in their custody. KOVR staffers please monitor this upcoming investigation to the end..

  3. Larry L.. says:

    Those in charge have a duty and should be accountable for their actions. They are employed to look after the animals in their charge.

    When these misdeeds have been brought to the attention of the public by CBS 13 (good job, CBS 13!), other government bodies and agencies now have a duty to correct this deplorable situation. If the situation is not remedied, these other agencies have neglected their duties too.

  4. Taz says:

    I adopted a dog last year from a rescue group closely connected with this shelter. The dog was unbathed, undernourished, underweight, and had a broken jaw so severe that I had to pay for surgery. When the surgeon went in, she found a piece of jawbone, completely broken off between the chin and the jaw-joint. The dog was in extreme pain until the surgery. He is doing better now, after months of rehab, gained to his normal weight, and he is well cared for. I called this shelter and the person who answered refused to file a complaint, excused things away, and made every effort to get me off the phone. I am so glad to hear this investigation is going on. It is desperately needed. I am just thankful I got my dog out of their hands and into a TLC environment. Best Dog I have ever had, thanks to some good Veterinarian care and lots of LOVE.

  5. jackie gereaux says:

    Jackie G.
    As an animal lover, I am horrified and heart broken to hear about the suffering of these poor defenseless creatures. Now I am angry. Everyone including the manager of this ” animal shelter ” should resign in disgrace! They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore for as long they “worked ” at this facility and had knowledge of the deplorable conditions they should be ordered to do community service cleaning up the facility.

    1. sammy says:

      they should be criminally prosecuted from management on down to shelter staff for turning a blind eye! they broke Ca State laws on abuse, inhumane treatment, neglect, doing veterinary work without the direct supervision of a vet present. We are tired of hearing how it’s all because the building is old and the budget was lacking, EXCUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES! The shelter supervisor would not hesitate to press criminal charges against any citizen of this county under the same conditions so why shouldn’t they be held accountable for these crimes also?

  6. S Brown says:

    I am horrified at this case of mass abuse. Thanks to Ch 13 for bringing this to light. Shut the facility down and turn the animals out on the street. They would have a better chance of survival in the hands of good samaritans. I want to see everyone in charge fined AND jailed. There are no excuses here. The officials allowing this to happen should be held responsible for their negligence!

  7. George Lau says:

    The CBS 13 staff needs to air the full story behind their “Sutter County Animal Shelter Investigated Over Deaths” news report, according to LNU(last name unknown) Kelly with the Sutter County Administratitive office. This was the message I’d received as I phoned Sutter county commissioners’ office yesterday. Kelly had bluntly ask me in a jolly tone of voice if I had received information of the deplorable condition at Sutter county animal shelter “only from CBS 13”. She then added that I need to talk to officials from the animal shelter to get their side of the story. I guess Kelly is implying that the investigative reporters of CBS 13 had being biased in their news reporting. If that is true, perhaps the grand jury had a one sided story of the situation at the shelter too! Maybe we should have the state attorney general’s office involved to see if the officials running the animal shelter had been wrongfully accused of causing the deaths of many cats and dogs while in their custody! Is Kelly insinuating that seventy percent of those deceased furry and cuddly creatures at the animal shelter had died a natural death or had committed Harrikari on their own? CBS news reporters indeed should interview the folks at the shelter in order to provide to them a fair shake of this heinous story which they seem to deny!

    May 9, 2011 11:36 PM

  8. Judy says:

    I have to say, I have assited this shelter for the past 6 months with food, blankets and everything I could. I found the employees to be kind hearted animal lovers, the conditions at the shelter is deplorable, the fact that the Yuba City allows this shelter to exist with no money makes me sick. They have no vet so they cannot offer medical care, they have no funds for food, shots and flea control. I also adopted a dog from there to save his life, he had kennel cough. I don’t blame to employees, I blame the city council for not stepping up with the money to fund this shelter.

    1. Sammy says:

      Read the Grand Jury report to see how negligent the shelter supervisor/staff was. No water bowls in the kennels, dogs forced to lick disinfectant off cement floors, kennels hosed down while dogs still present leaving them wet and cold, not enough beds if any, parvo diagnosed puppy housed next to healthy puppies, probable distemper infected boxer in with general population, no hot water, shelter supervisor did not reassign supervision of jail trustees to someone else after kennel assistant quit, animals not being checked daily, livestock without proper shelters in mud, wounds on livestock left unattended, rotten food, no food, rats chewing on animals, walls filled with dead rat bodies, no disinfectant, most animals euthanized after contracting injury/illness AFTER being admitted to shelter, cats lived about 9 days, healthy animals forced to be in same room where euthanasia performed to hear/smell everything going on. Shelter staff should have DEMANDED changes or they should have gone to authorities. They didn’t, turning a blind eye to what was going on there. It took a former employee who couldn’t stand the deplorable conditions going to CAL OSHA to reveal to the citizens of Sutter County what really went on at the shelter. Stop defending the staff, they didn’t speak up!

  9. Coen says:

    They should be held accountable for their negligence.

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