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Arkansas Animal Shelter Closed; Director Faces 285 Counts of Animal Cruelty

(Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A shelter in Arkansas that housed hundreds of animals has been closed due to animal cruelty allegations. Helena-West Helena Mayor Kevin Smith is now looking for volunteers to help feed and care for more than 300 animals. Authorities relocated the pets they shut down the animal shelter on Phillips Road on Thursday.

After Helena-West Helena Police discovered horrific conditions at the Humane Society of the Delta this week, the director faces 285 charges of animal cruelty. (Photo by Helena-West Helena Police Department)

Officials Closed Arkansas Animal Shelter After Receiving Abuse Reports

Helena-West Helena police officers and representatives of the Phillips County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on Thursday. They went inside to inspect the animal shelter.

What they discovered is unsettling, as they described it. They found nearly 240 canines and 45 cats in terrible circumstances, according to officials per Fox13.

According to authorities, many of them were malnourished. Some people had open wounds that were showing symptoms of infection. Authorities said that several of the animals were standing, sitting, and laying in their own excrement and urine. The premises was strewn with rats, both living and dead, according to authorities.

Trash cans overflowed, and trash was scattered around the premises, authorities told KARK. According to the Helena-West Helena Police Department, such circumstances were not limited to outdoor animal shelters.

According to police, they broke into a mobile home on the site where director Reta Merritt Roberts and her family, which includes a young kid, reside. Inside the mobile home, officers discovered what looked to be animal feces and urine, as well as numerous rats. According to authorities, the little kid suffered numerous bug bites.

ALSO READ: Animal Cruelty: Police Arrests Man For Beating A Puppy At A Target Shop

Animal Shelter Owner Faces 285 Counts Of Animal Cruelty

Reta Merritt Roberts, the animal shelter owner, faces 285 counts of severe animal cruelty, a Class D felony. According to HWH Police Chief James Smith, she is currently in jail and faces further charges. Employees will also be charged, according to Smith. WREG highlighted multiple projects at the shelter, including one in June. The Humane Society of the Delta took in more than 100 cats in one of Arkansas’ biggest animal rescue instances ever.

The Delta Humane Society has not issued a comment as of Thursday morning. The group’s Facebook page, on the other hand, had just been updated. Smith said that his first priority is to save the animals, followed by cleaning and restoring the facility to safe and acceptable conditions.

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