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Animal Shelter Announces Changes After Viral Photo Showed 89-Degree Kennel

OGDEN, Utah – Over the summer, a photo taken inside the Weber County Animal Shelter sparked outrage; the picture suggested temperatures inside one room reached nearly 90 degrees.

Since the image was shared, the shelter and community leaders have been working to do something about it.

“While temperatures have always been below the national requirement, Weber County, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office and Ivory Homes listened to the concerns of their constituency and have put additional mechanisms in place to monitor and mitigate high temperatures for the animals,” according to a statement from the Weber County Animal Shelter.

As part of the solution, the shelter announced that Ivory Homes has donated six trees as part of a “Go Green” initiative. The installment will especially help the southwest corner, where the majority of animals are housed and where windows allow sunlight to come in.

In addition to the trees, the shelter has also installed new thermometers throughout the building and in all animal holdings. Officials said a new cooling system will be installed in 2020.

“It will be taken care of before summer,” said WCSO Chief Deputy Brandon Roundy. “… I’ve had a consultant group come out, and they’re evaluating the current air conditioning system to see what the best route is. If we go with just a regular air conditioned unit, it’s not going to get the air exchange that is needed to keep these animals healthy.”

The shelter currently uses an air exchange unit, which is important for preventing the spread of illness among animals in close proximity, officials said.

Last year’s Facebook post, which showed a thermometer reading 89 degrees next to a kennel with a dog inside, had community members concerned. The post stated that the cooler had not functioned for two years, and both the employees and the animals were suffering.

It noted that employees had the option to go outside, while the animals could not.

Shelter employees and county officials said the reading wasn’t 100% accurate, but they admitted adjustments needed to be made. They began investigating the issue and looking into ways to solve any problems without burdening tax payers.

“It’s not just about taxpayer dollars,” Roundy said. “It’s also about taking care of these animals. They deserve to be taken care of.”

Shelter employees said they appreciate the efforts by concerned citizens to initiate positive change. The facility is at full capacity and will be holding an adoption event until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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