Dilapidated animal shelter improving under new management

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DEKALB COUNTY —

Lifeline Animal Project is taking big strides towards turning around a DeKalb County animal shelter that activists recently described as a house of horrors, but there is still work to be done.

The shelter was previously known roach infestation, poor ventilation and a lack of staffing.

Lifelife Animal Project began controlling day-to-day operations on July 1 and made big improvements over the last three weeks.

"We knew there was going to be a lot of challenges," said Karen Hirsch Lifeline Animal Project's communication director.

Lifeline's management hired a completely new staff. It also created intake and drop off programs that include counseling for pet owners. It eliminated group feedings and animals are now served single portions. Finally, it increased hours increased to allow for more visitations during evenings and on weekends.

"Eventually we hope the shelter will turn into an adoptable shelter that people will come into," said Hirsch.

Shelter volunteer Judy Simon told Channel 2's Erica Byfield the changes are noticeable.

"Everything is stepped up now and it's good," she said. "It's just a different world. It's much better."

While ventilation issues have been addressed by installing plastic tubes, Channel 2 Action News observed leaky pipes and hoses, as well as bugs and holes in the corners and ceilings.

DeKalb County officials plan to build a new shelter near DeKalb Peachtree Airport but have not said when construction will begin.