MISSION, Kan. – A troubled pet shelter that the state of Kansas has been trying to shut down for months failed yet another inspection in September.
Investigators discovered a live roach, waste disposal problems and overcrowding at the Mission shelter.
Now even some Unleashed Pet Shelter insiders are speaking out, though they asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. Four sources told FOX4 Problem Solvers that they believe the shelter, which they once defended, needs to close.
Kansas has started revocation proceedings against Unleashed and a hearing is scheduled for November.
The shelter’s attorney, Court Kennedy, called the latest allegations against Unleashed — including statements made by FOX4 sources and the findings of a state inspection — false and defamatory, saying they’ve been manufactured by people who want to see the shelter close.
But sources tell FOX4 they have lost faith in Unleashed President Danielle Reno, claiming among other things that she’s euthanizing dogs at the same time she’s obtaining new dogs from auctions.
Unleashed released a statement that didn’t address that specific allegation. But it said the shelter is in full compliance with Kansas laws and regulations, and any allegations otherwise are baseless.
Six months ago, FOX4 captured on video Unleashed employees bringing crates of dogs into the shelter even though the Kansas Department of Agriculture had banned Unleashed from accepting new animals because of poor conditions at the shelter. It’s a decision that the state later rescinded.
Problem Solvers tried to talk to Reno while the crates were being unloaded, but she disappeared inside the shelter after seeing us.
Many of Unleashed’s critics point to the organizations board of directors as part of the problem. The board consists of Reno, Reno’s mother Robin Norris, and Norris’ partner Daniel Kawecki, according to a tax filing with the IRS. Sources tell us a fourth board member has since been added who lives in Florida.
Here’s Unleashed Pet Shelter’s full statement:
It is unfortunate that FOX4 News continues to run stories based on false accusations by people who the news organization either knows or should know by now have inexplicable personal or even financial interests in seeing Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption Inc.—an organization that has saved over 45,000 animals in its over decade of service—shut down.
These false allegations also come at an interesting time, when numerous subpoenas have just today been issued in the KDA’s revocation proceedings for documents and testimony from people we sternly believe have been spreading similar false allegations to and coordinating with the KDA’s Animal Facilities’ Inspection Program and others to seek the end of Unleashed regardless of the cost to animal welfare or the law.
The allegations and insinuations that Unleashed is euthanizing animals for space, not using funds for legitimate non-profit business purposes, not appropriately running its business, and not in full compliance with the Kansas Pet Animal Act or other laws are completely baseless. Much of this has already come out in sworn testimony, and my client looks forward to obtaining many other similar concessions in future litigation.
The truth is that the latest alleged failed inspection was falsely manufactured by the local state inspector in retaliation for Unleashed lawfully using the procedures the Kansas legislature promulgated for Unleashed to defend its license. A review of the inspection report plainly shows the alleged failure was based on the inspector seeing a single bug on the floor of the facility and a single “piece of feces” at the edge of an asphalted area behind the facility that is not used to house animals, neither of which are evidence of any violations of any laws. Without these falsely manufactured “violations,” Unleashed would have passed the inspection with flying colors based on the AFI Program’s own policies and procedures.
FOX4 giving a platform to these types of falsities and defamatory information has been and continues to be part of the problem. My client very much looks forward to fully exposing the truth before the KDA or otherwise and continuing to serve the animal community with passion and hard work, as it has for over a decade.