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The report continues: "This facility's policy and practices for evaluating sick and/or suffering animals in their care must be reevaluated and changed immediately. Severe cases of illness and suffering must be attended to by a veterinarian in a far more timely manner that reflects the severity of the illness or injury."
Wells agrees that the pit bull was mishandled. But, she says, given the shelter's volume, one known case of a dog going without care for two days is bad but not terrible. Jones and Wells both say they're frustrated by the latter half of that citation. They claim that Houston didn't examine the shelter's policies for assessing animals' medical needs.
"The inspector, when I asked them if they wanted to see our current policies and procedures, did not want to see them," Wells says. "So she's recommending a rewrite of policies and procedures that she never saw. She said she did not need to see them."
Jones says the city is planning to appeal that violation. A spokeswoman for the agriculture department says it hasn't received an appeal yet.
While acknowledging a few missteps, Jones regards Wells as a reformer.
"There was a time before Aimee came where you walked into that shelter and the odor would almost knock you down," he says. He points to programs that Wells has instituted, including microchipping each animal that comes through the shelter, as proof that she has turned the facility around, not driven it into disrepair.
And despite Houston's most recent inspection report, the Missouri Department of Agriculture notes that it would be wasteful to compel the city to make costly repairs. The shelter is scheduled to move into a new building next spring. The facility will have modern amenities that the existing shelter lacks, including central air conditioning.
The department's June inspection report concludes: "Addressing these issues will serve to ensure that this facility moves into it's [sic] new building with improved policies and procedures in place that ensure the health, safety, and proper husbandry of the animals in the facility's care."
It's hard not to read that as a signal to Wells and her staff: Hold the current place together with duct tape and chewing gum if you have to, and fix policy before moving into the new shelter.
Jones sounds confident about the shelter's future and the satisfaction of those who work in it.
"I think we're doing a darn good job," he says. "I think by this time next year, it will be even better."