EUGENE, Ore. — Some citizens are outraged over the loss of heat at a local animal shelter. They say the city and the employees at the First Avenue Shelter in Eugene aren’t doing enough to fix it.
The city says the shelter and the animals in it are definitely a priority to it and that’s why it’s been working to repair the heaters since day one.
A flurry of e-mails have been sent back and forth since animal advocates found out the shelter hasn’t had any heat since Jan. 28 and that the system hasn’t been working properly since September. Some people questioned why the issue hadn’t been dealt with sooner, but both the city and shelter say it has been. The facilities are old and they say they’re doing the best they can.
“I think it’s like when you buy a used house, you just don’t walk in the first day and replace everything. You try to see what works and is there more life left in this piece of equipment,” said Kelly Darnell, Eugene Animal Services Manager.
Though temperamental, the shelter’s heater wasn’t an issue until the day it completely shut off. That’s when managers say they scrambled to make sure all the animals were safe.
“The dogs that were smaller or had thinner coats were all moved to the Greenhill shelter. The remaining dogs here got extra food and warm blankets,” said Cary Lieberman, Executive Director at Greenhill Humane Society.
While temperatures outside for the past week had a low average of 36 degrees, the shelter said it wasn’t so cold inside.
“The temperature never dropped below 45 degrees and actually sat around 55,” Lieberman said.
A local vet agreed, saying while the conditions aren’t ideal, those numbers aren’t threatening for the ones left behind. While both sides may not see eye to eye on this issue, the shelter hopes none of this takes away from the bigger picture.
“What we really need is for people to come out for adoption, and things like this detract from that need, and really in the end is it hurts the animals,” Lieberman said.
One of the two overhead heaters is back up and running Tuesday. Maintenance workers are still waiting on parts to repair the second one.