Audit reveals problems at Lake Co. animal shelter

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County's animal shelter takes dogs, cats, horses, hogs, sheep, geese, you name it.

But officials can't be sure what happened to some of them.

A new audit of kennel and field operations showed the shelter cannot account for 1,609 of the 13,527 animals --12 percent -- that came into the facility last year.

"You've got to have systems in place to track every single animal that comes into that facility," said Leslie Campione with the Lake County Commission.

The probe also noted the lack of air conditioning in the shelter. There are some old fans, but that's it.

The audit showed most of the dogs spent all day in cages and rarely got exercise.

Auditors also didn't like the way the money was being handled.

Interim director Jim Stivender is trying to clean things up until a new boss is hired.

"We wanted to make sure we're right on top of the protocol. There's a safe here now. There wasn't a safe before," Stivender said.

Longtime director Marjie Boyd abruptly resigned a few weeks back amid criticism from animal rescue groups that euthanasia rates were too high and adoption rates too low.

"Now they've got a banner that's tied to the fence that says, 'Adopt a pet here.' They don't do any local advertising. No billboards, nothing to get the dogs and cats more visible out in the public that they're even there," said Kent Weber, animal rescue organizer.

The audit found the euthanasia rates are in line with other counties, not higher.