LYONS, GA (WTOC) - A lack of homes takes a deadly toll as almost 100 animals are put down. An animal rescue group is outraged after learning every animal at Lyons Animal Control was put down. The rescue group says the animals could have been adopted.
Lyons Animal Control said it had too many dogs. The rescue group argues they could have helped if they had known about the problem. On Thursday, 77 dogs, including puppies, were put down.
Chief Darryl Corley told WTOC they just had too many dogs, and that they had not euthanized any animal since July. He was getting pressure to make room so he made the decision, a decision that's causing a lot of controversy in Toombs County.
"The dogs were dead before any of us had any idea what happened," said Therisa Ingley, CEO of Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society. "We could have found homes for half of those at least," added Ingley.
Ingley says it's her staff that keeps that facility running. They volunteer; pay for food and even medical costs. She said that she should have been notified.
"There was a SOAP volunteer in the shelter Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday pulling dogs for rescue, and the day the euthanizations were performed our foster coordinator had called to remind them she'd be pulling dogs on Saturday," said Ingley.
But when she went to get the dogs, they were all dead. Ingley said it's just wrong.
"We are hurting, we want answers," she said.
Corley didn't want to speak on camera but did tell us he had no choice. The shelter was over-run with animals that he says were not adoptable. He said the shelter only has to keep the dogs for three days, after that they can be euthanized. He hadn't euthanized any animals in more than six months, that's why there were so many at one time. He never had any intentions on upsetting anyone.
People at the rescue say it didn't have to be that way. "We want assurance more than anything else that this won't happen again," said Ingley.
The Department of Agriculture inspected the facility on Monday after receiving numerous complaints about the euthanizations. After the inspection, they found no wrongdoing by the shelter.
All of the dogs were buried behind the shelter. A back hoe was brought in. A 6-foot hole was dug, the dogs were placed in there and then were covered with dirt.
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