Animal shelter under new barking order

McCann tabbed as interim vet, will guide shelter operations

Elizabeth Hentges watches as Waylon jumps up to catch a chew toy as the two play around at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter following the ceremonial opening of the new facility. (File photo)

Elizabeth Hentges watches as Waylon jumps up to catch a chew toy as the two play around at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter following the ceremonial opening of the new facility. (File photo) Photo by News Tribune.

An interim veterinarian will assume the role of shelter veterinarian and Animal Control director at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter (JCAS) effective immediately, according to a Jefferson City Police Department (JCPD) press release.

The department announced Tuesday that Dr. Corey McCann will serve as interim veterinarian at the shelter until a replacement veterinarian is hired. The position was left vacant by Dr. Amanda Dykstra, who resigned from the shelter June 14 and was released early from her month’s notice June 27.

McCann will also direct all aspects and activities of the Animal Control program, formerly under the direction of JCAS Animal Control Supervisor Karen Jennings.

The change comes after a comprehensive assessment of the general operation of animal control efforts within the city, police say.

“In the course of reviewing all elements of the program, it became readily apparent that a licensed veterinarian should hold ultimate responsibility for the operation of the animal control program,” a JCPD press release said.

It also stated, “Karen Jennings will continue to directly supervise the animal control

officers, but will now report to Dr. McCann in his overall administrative capacity.”

The veterinarian at the shelter previously reported to Jennings.

The release also stated, “Our confidence in the abilities of Ms. Jennings is reflected in the fact that she will continue to provide direct supervision of the animal control officers. Her deep commitment and devotion to the effective care and welfare of all animals is routinely evident.”

The resignation of Dykstra was due in part to her concern regarding the shelter’s use of a gas chamber to kill wildlife and feral cats and regarding disagreements between the veterinarian and Jennings.

The gas chamber, a legal form of euthanasia in Missouri, exposes animals to high concentrations of gases that displace oxygen.

McCann will euthanize animals by the process of injection. The gas chamber will only be used with the direction and authority of McCann in the rare cases when he is not available.

Linda Laucks, whose cat was incorrectly deemed feral and euthanized in the gas chamber in late 2012, said she was shocked when she heard that the veterinarian will now have complete authority of the gas chamber.

“It sounds like they are trying to run things more smoothly,” Laucks said. “This is great news for the community. We needed to pull together and make them aware what’s happening in our community.”

Animal Control is under the jurisdiction of the JCPD. Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker, the department’s spokesman, issued the news release, but could not be reached for additional comment.

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