Mallow says her shelter record good
Due to a recent animal abuse complaint filed by an Ohio investigator, Pocahontas County animal shelter manager Sandy Mallow has retained legal counsel and doesn't want to talk about specific allegations. But the manager gave a guided tour of both her private and county shelters on September 12.
The investigator, Christopher Giannini, of Cleveland, Ohio, said he observed dogs on approximately three-feet-long chains during his visits to the shelter in July and September.
In a private area of the property, Mallow showed dogs chained inside a wooden structure, divided into individual dog pens. The dogs were chained inside the structure with approximately eight-foot chains, long enough to allow the dogs to jump into a straw-filled bed above the floor of the pens.
Mallow cares for five horses in a pasture next to the animal shelter. A small, open-sided structure provides limited shade and weather protection for the horses. None of the three horses near the structure appeared to be in ill health. Two other horses were grazing on a hillside farther away.
The investigator noted the small size of the horse shelter in his report and claimed that the horses appeared in bad physical condition during his visits.
Mallow noted that two of the horses are more than 25 years old and show signs of age.
In the area dedicated for the county shelter, most of the five-by-10-foot dog kennels sit on concrete pads, but some sit on the ground with straw added to soak up mud and waste. A newly-poured concrete pad is drying and will hold about three more kennels, when ready.
All of the dog kennels are outdoors and most sit under a newly-installed roof. Mallow has said that keeping animals outdoors reduces the spread of disease, but the Humane Society of The United States says that animal shelters should be indoors to provide protection from the elements, climate control and sanitation.
As many as three small-to-medium size dogs are housed in five-by-10 foot kennels, but none of the dogs appeared to be aggressive toward each other. Mallow said she often keeps dogs together that come in together, to reduce the stress that dogs feel when they are separated from a familiar companion. Humane Society standards state that no more than three small dogs, two medium-size dogs or one large dog should be housed in a five-by-10-foot kennel.
None of the dog kennels appeared to contain excess amounts of waste.
No runs are available for the dogs to exercise, but Mallow said runs would be installed in the future.
Cat cages are located inside a 10x20-foot building, equipped with heating and air conditioning.
Mallow had a supply of medicine in the building for treating animals for worms and fleas.
The shelter manager said she works from 7 a.m. to dusk taking care of the animals on her property.
"I work hard to rehabilitate and find animals homes," she said. "I've done it for 13 years, from 1996 to 2009, and then I had to resign for awhile, and then I put my bid back in for this year and got the bid back."
Mallow said she greatly improved her adoption rate since becoming a shelter manager.
"In 1996, when I first started, I was putting down almost 95 percent of my animals and, when I resigned in 2009, I was adopting 95 percent and getting them out to rescue," she said.
The manager said most of her animals are adopted out-of-state.
"I mainly work with a lot of rescue groups and I do have a lot of out-of-state adoptions," she said. "I had a dog, by the name of Cody, that was heartworm positive, but I adopted him out to a man in Ohio. We raised the money to do his treatment and then he's the one that bought my pressure washer for me.
He was here. He drove all the way to Ohio.
"I had another man and woman that adopted a little terrier in North Carolina, and they flew in here. He was an ex-pilot and he flew into Greenbrier County to pick her up."
Mallow said she had no lack of volunteers, despite the out-of-the-way location. The manager said retired Navy petty officer Barry Sharp had volunteered to take professional photos of the animals for the shelter website.
Giannini filed a complaint with the Pocahontas County Sheriff's Department on September 1. Mallow has retained Lewisburg attorney Steve Hunter to defend her against the animal abuse allegations.