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Protest draws light to animal care laws and conditions of local shelter

Many people gathered Saturday afternoon to draw attention to Missouri animal laws and the conditions for animals living at Callaway Hills Animal Shelter. (Lexie Petrovic/KRCG13).

Many people gathered Saturday afternoon to draw attention to Missouri animal laws and the conditions for animals living at Callaway Hills Animal Shelter.

Concerned Citizen Lisa Fuller said while she does not believe the shelter physically abuses their animals, she does feel they are neglected.

"I don't feel - I'm going to speak personally - that they are abusing the dogs," she said. "They are not physically abusing the dogs, beating the dogs, or anything like that. But having them caged and having no human interaction is not a humane treatment either."

Sandy Hempe said she volunteered at the shelter for nine years, and said the animals lacked human interaction and socialization.

"Many of them rarely left their cages, they would spend their whole lives in a cage," she said. "They wouldn't get walked."

Fuller said recent weather prompted the volunteers to go out and draw attention to the issue.

"The real thing that brought us out were the frigid temperatures we just experienced and knowledge the shelter was not prepared for that and it took an outside concerned citizen to bring hay or straw in to help prepare them for that," she said.

Fuller said the shelter is overpopulated with dogs.

"Last week there was a count of 63 dogs on the premise, so with lack of volunteers, lack of funds, it's very difficult to care for that many dogs," she said.

Hempe said when she worked at the shelter, the management would not respond to adoption applications, leaving many families searching for answers.

"Days, weeks, would go by and I would try to get a response from them," she said. "But when people were waiting to see if they would receive a pet they would hear nothing at all."

Christina Rinehart said she tried to adopt multiple dogs from the shelter, but never heard back from them. She said those dogs are still there.

"I tried for two years to get two dogs at the same time," she said. "I'm a perfect candidate to adopt those dogs - I have a fenced yard, I have vet records at the University of Missouri, I have records at Southwest. My dogs don't stay outside, they are inside even when I work. I go out with them and I still wasn't able to adopt two dogs that are still here."

Rinehart said the shelter never gave her a reason, rather, they left her without a response.

Bill and Terri Kempker said they disagree with the protesting taking place, and said they had a great adoption experience.

"Our adoption experience was real good," Bill said. "I mean we went through it, they checked out our home, they checked everything out and they approved us to adopt a dog."

Bill Kempker said he does not understand why there was a protest going on today and said the shelter is entitled to making their own decisions.

"If they are just here because they can't adopt a dog, I mean it's the rules of the place," he said. "It's a privately owned place so it's their rules."

He said he believes the reason behind there being so many dogs at the shelter, is due to the age of the dogs.

"There are a lot of dogs down there, probably because these dogs have a little bit of age on them," he said."They're harder to adopt, harder to get out to people- people want puppies."

Despite adopting their dog five years ago, the Kempker's said they have been to the shelter recently and have not witnessed anything concerning.

"But I have been down there right now and these dogs are not in bad health and they all have a good bed to lay in, a good place to sleep," Bill said.

Fuller said the bigger message they are trying to spread is with Missouri animal laws. She said she believes they need to be stricter and better enforced.

"There are several states that have recently enacted new laws that dogs cannot be outside at all if it's below freezing or if it's over ninety-degrees," she said."We advocate the state of Missouri adopts laws like that."

The owner of the shelter did not want to speak on camera, and would not let KRCG 13 crews back to get footage of the animals.

KRCG 13 reached out to the owner for a statement, but as of Saturday night, had not received a reply.

A link to the shelter's Facebook page can be found here.

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