Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer
BRUNSWICK -- The Humane Society animal shelter will reopen today after being closed for almost a month by state authorities for violating record-keeping laws governing animal medicines including controlled tranquilizers, painkillers and euthanasia drugs.
State agriculture inspectors spent yesterday training workers and some board members at the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia animal shelter, which has been closed since May 1.
"They went over everything for us, detail for detail and word for word so we'll know exactly how we're supposed to do the record-keeping properly," said Charlotte Vickery, a Humane Society vice president who volunteers at the shelter several days a week.
The shelter will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Vickery said.
"We have a waiting list of people who said they would be interested in adopting some of our animals," Vickery said.
As the shelter reopens, it faces five years probation and a $20,000 fine, of which $5,000 must be paid immediately, according to a proposed consent order awaiting final approval from state Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.
Humane society officials discussed the shelter's record-keeping problems and proposed corrective measures May 21 during an administrative hearing held by the state Department of Agriculture in Atlanta.
"The main thing they need to do is maintain proper records for the controlled substances used at the shelter, and they need to make sure that their employees are properly trained and are following all state rules and regulations," said Irvin, whose department polices and regulates animal care facilities in Georgia.
To ensure that compliance, Irvin said the shelter is on probation. If any violations are found during the probationary period, the society will have to pay the remaining $15,000 fine to the state, Irvin said.
"At the humane society's request, we sent some of our staff down there [yesterday] to help with the training," Irvin said. "It's my understanding that they didn't want to reopen to the public until after that training was completed."
"I'm very satisfied that it's fair and everybody will be happy with it," Irvin said.
Mimi Skelton, also a Humane Society vice president, agreed the organization has been treated fairly by the agriculture department
"We will do our best to comply with all their rules and regulations," said Skelton, adding that they welcome the department's training and guidance. …