Ely criticized for removing shelter drop-off boxes

ELY — An Ely animal advocacy group is upset with city officials for removing two drop-off boxes at the city’s animal shelter.

The drop-off boxes were an attempt by the city to encourage citizens to bring their unwanted pets to the facility and temporarily store them until the animal control officer could bring them inside.

But the boxes came under fire from The Zoo, Inc. because officials at the nonprofit said the city was not checking them frequently enough. The group also said that the boxes provided inadequate conditions for the animals. The city responded by removing the boxes, which The Zoo, Inc. officials say was a poor decision.

“There is nothing that says they’re obligated to have a drop-off facility. To me it is unbelievable that it isn’t part of the procedure, the workings of an animal control facility to have a drop-off area,” said Brenda Alexander, president of The Zoo, Inc .

An empty water bowl marks the site at the animal shelter where two drop-boxes once sat.

City Clerk Jim Alworth sees their removal as a simple solution. “The biggest issue Zoo has had with the city is related to those boxes,” he said. “So we took them out and had a sign posted: ‘Don’t leave your animal here.’ ”

Dumping animals at the city animal shelter is a misdemeanor, with fines up to $1,000.

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