Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Marin Humane Society shuts down San Rafael pet adoption center

from the San Jose Mercury News

SAN RAFAEL — The Marin Humane Society shut down an animal rescue group's San Rafael operations after uncovering "shocking conditions" at the center.

The Milo Foundation was forced to close its adoption center and animal holding site at 2060 Fourth St. on Friday, one day after an inspection by the Marin Humane Society uncovered health and safety violations including triple the number of dogs and cats allowed at the site, animals living in their own feces and untreated for contagious diseases and inadequate staffing or medical supervision.

"It was overwhelming," said Capt. Cindy Machado of the Marin Humane Society. "After witnessing shocking conditions for the animals at Milo in San Rafael, we issued a directive to the Milo Foundation that operations at its San Rafael facility must stop immediately."

Machado said last week's inspection was in response to complaints of mismanagement at the San Rafael site. In July, she accompanied an inspection of the foundation's sanctuary in Willits by the Humane Society of the United States that uncovered similar animal health and safety issues of inadequate housing and lack of care. That inspection was prompted by complaints from former sanctuary staffers.

Lynn Tingle, Milo's executive director, disputed the allegations, although she agreed the center had more dogs on hand than its city permit allowed. She said the foundation was in the process of requesting the city to update its permit to allow an additional 10 dogs on site.

"I disagree with their findings," said Tingle, of Berkeley. "I just think there's a big difference between animal control and animal rescue. We're about saving lives. We're going to fight this."

The foundation surrendered 19 animals to the Marin Humane Society for treatment.

The San Rafael center opened in 2008. The nonprofit foundation was created in 1994 to provide homes for unwanted pets.

The Milo Foundation is a reputable and well-established animal rescue in the San Francisco Bay Area and has found homes for countless cats and dogs over the years. Let’s hope their issues get resolved and the adoption center gets to re-open soon.

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