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Elgin Animal Shelter Accused of Abuse

ELGIN Okla_ 7News has learned of disturbing allegations of abuse at the Elgin Animal Shelter, but the animal control officer and the city said those claims are completely untrue.

Former shelter volunteer Devrin Elefante said she volunteered with the shelter for about a year until last December. During that time, she said she saw numerous dogs wasting away from lack of food, dogs covered in sores and city ordinances being ignored. The shelter director said the condition of the facility and its dogs are proof her claims are false.

Our news crew walked in unannounced and from what we could see, the shelter was clean. Elefante has pictures that she said showed the dog was malnourished and covered in sores. Our crew did see the dog in person, and it was in that condition. However, the shelter director said it came to them that way, and said he wanted to answer her allegations.

Devrin Elefante said she loved the dogs but couldn't stand to watch what she claims was constant abuse.

"An animal would come in injured and it would not be taken to a vet to be seen," Elefante said. "They would try, in some instances, to treat it themselves. Some instances, it would just get left. There was one leg wound that was so severe, you could smell it when you walked into the pound."

She said once she went to pick up one of the dogs to take it to a veterinarian appointment, she was told the dog had been stolen.

"Two weeks later, I went to pick up another dog, and I noticed some white fur that was loose from coming out of a dog house," Elefante said. "That was the white dog, so he had apparently gone under there, died and was never found for two weeks."

Dan Linthicum, who runs the shelter, said Elefante is just a disgruntled volunteer. He said he has been trying to nurse the dog Elefante said is being mistreated back to good health.

"I come out here twice a day," Linthicum said. "I give that dog both dry and wet food plus worming medicine. We're trying to heal the dog. I have a home for that dog, a good home for that dog. So, I am going to treat that dog and get her healed."

Elefante also alleged that Linthicum was euthanizing dogs without a license, before the shelter turned into a "no kill" facility. He vehemently disputes that and said his seven years of hard work speaks for itself.

"So, this person can say what ever they want about what goes on out here," Linthicum said. "These dogs are taken care of. I am the one that's out here rain, sleet or shine. I am not going to respond to her, because when you respond to someone like that, it empowers them. I'm not going to do that. I know what goes on out here."

Linthicum did admit that he was not aware of a few city of Elgin ordinances, when it came to adopting Elgin dogs until three days ago. Those ordinances took effect within the last year. Elefante said she wants the city to step in and keep a closer eye on the shelter.

We got conflicting stories on why she's no longer a volunteer, so that's another issue that's unsettled. We will keep an eye on the situation at the shelter over the next several weeks.

Elgin Mayor Larry Thoma said the city is aware of these allegations. He said they are typically unfounded and come to his attention quite regularly. Thoma said Linthicum's lack of knowledge of the current ordinances is a simple oversight that he will address.

"As far as the day-to-day running of that ordinance, I really don't think there is anything out of place with that," Thoma said. "It's just a matter of some adoption fees, but that will be addressed and taken care of. It has nothing to do with the safety and welfare of the animals."

Mayor Thoma said city officials will investigate these allegations.


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