Preston County Shelter Temporarily Closes - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Preston County Shelter Temporarily Closes

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KINGWOOD -

It has been a whirlwind of a year so far for the Preston County Animal Shelter.

Monday, the county closed the shelter to the public to look at financial records the county said don't add up.

County lawyer Mel Snyder said there is no proof that money is, or is not missing. He said the shelter's records indicate that it adopted out more than 900 animals in 2012, but doesn't show the money for it and the commission is looking for answers.

"Right now we're looking at how do we get this straightened back out," said commission president Craig Jennings. "We need to make sure the numbers add up. Maybe it's just some bad accounting. Whatever it is, that's what we're trying to find out."

Jennings said the money adds up to more than $10,000, and the missing money could be a result of just poor record keeping. 

Snyder said the county is looking at an average adoption fee of $50 an animal, meaning the shelter should have made more than $45,000.

But it's not that simple.

New shelter director Elaine Smith said all adoption fees are fluid, adding that adoptions between shelters could result in little to no money transaction.

Smith said that in any given year up to 75 percent of adoptions are between shelters.

"Different rescues, there fees are dependent whether the dog spayed or neutered. What vaccines they might have. It's not just a cut and dry fee. And the same is if you adopt a dog," said Smith.

In February former director Courtney Austin was fired for insubordination. Austin's lawyer said she is making herself available to the county to help straighten out the numbers.

The shelter is working to install new software and update technology to keep better records in the future. It plans to stay closed until then end of the month until all changes are made.

"We have new employees coming in and things like that. We just want to get everyone on board, everyone on the same page with the right policies the right procedures," Jennings said.

At the beginning of the year the public praised the shelter for not having euthanized an animal in more than a year. Smith said she plans to follow that precedent set by Austin and do the same.

"You know are numbers are staying up as far as getting them out of risk and getting them adopted. We've been successful with that and I don't perceive that changing," Smith said.