INEZ, Ky. — Stray Hearts Animal Rescue removed a large number of dogs and cats from the animal shelter due to toxic mold in the walls and ceiling inside the building.
Stray Hearts volunteers began moving at least 12 dogs and five cats from the shelter Monday to take to area shelters after they were told by building inspector, Chris Howell, of Pikeville, the animals needed to be removed from the building.
According to Mary Blanton, head of Stray Hearts, Howell told her that the toxic waste was the kind that caused neurological damage and memory loss. Blanton stated that the building needed to be evacuated and that a licensed toxic mold removal company must be brought in to do the removal work.
Blanton and her volunteers began moving the animals out Monday morning and until the building is clear they will not be able to take any more animals.
Blanton also pointed out that the sewer problem has not been fixed and that they have killed several snakes.
Blanton said that she tried calling Martin County Judge Executive Kelly Callaham several times to make him aware of the situation but Callaham is in Myrtle Beach on vacation. In June, the Martin County fiscal court entered into a three year contract with Stray Hearts, which states that they agreed to assist the county by providing and operating a clean and comfortable shelter program for homeless, abused lost and/ or abandoned dogs / cats.
However, with the toxic mold and sewer problems, one member who requested to not be identified said that the county is not holding up their end.
As far as the maintenance, the county agreed that the building and grounds maintenance is the sole responsibility of the county and that the county is solely responsible for all systems and building maintenance including, but not limited to, septic system and HVAC maintenance and under no circumstances should the shelter be expected to expend funds for these purposes.
“I have tried to contact Judge Callaham on these problems but he seems to be always out. We are in the process of moving all those dogs and cats inside the building out and taken to a safe place or placement with other rescue shelters”, Blanton said. We are in need of financial help for vetting and transportation costs”.
If you would like to make a donation to Stray Hearts they are tax deductible and if you need to contact the group please call 626- 5537.