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Pueblo city, county leaders meeting with shelter board members

Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 23:02:43-04

PUEBLO- In a meeting between city, county, and shelter leaders Tuesday morning, elected officials alluded it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ PAWS for life will lose its contract.

Late last year, the city and county awarded a $1.7 million contract for ‘PAWS for life’ to operate the shelter.

Come early march- the shelter found itself as the target of a state investigation, where several violations were found.

At Tuesday’s meeting, county and shelter leaders mentioned some of the violations found from the ongoing investigation.

Among some of the items mentioned in the report, according to shelter and county leaders: delayed care to animals, uncleaned areas, and 14 animals died in two months under the leadership.

In one instance, Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said an animal was hit by a vehicle and left untreated for five days- which killed the animal.

Additionally, the shelter terminated the veterinarian, Jon Brubaker after learning of these violations- which included falsifying reports.

Lisa Mitchell, the shelter’s manager was suspended.

“We realize that we have not done the job that we have promised you, it’s not for lack of trying, we’re still trying,’ said Ruth McDonald, Board President for PAWS for Life animal shelter.

A copy of the report was not made public as of Tuesday, News 5 has filed a request under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) to see the findings.

Board members told commissioners and councilmen they only had 21 days to prepare before taking over the contract.

‘I am just wanting to know at one point are you willing to tell us that it’s time to move in a different direction,’ said Commissioner Chris Wiseman.

Other commissioners and council members said they’d like to see the contract pulled.

A vote on that decision could happen at a later date.