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Animals Stuck in Shelter with No Air Conditioning

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

Volunteers at the Hardeman County animal shelter are struggling with the heat after the shelter's air conditioner broke a week ago.

Volunteers told 7 Eyewitness News having the A/C break is very stressful for them. The animal shelter is already overcrowded, with more than 50 dogs and just 30 stalls.

They hope this setback will not keep people from coming in to adopt.

"It's hot, it's miserably hot," volunteer Jennifer Smallwood said. "You feel like you've been in a swimming pool, just sweating like a dog. [The dog's are] miserable, they're panting, all of them are."

Even though the air conditioner has been out for a week, volunteers said they have only had about eight small fans running. They just got a large one on Tuesday.

The good news for volunteers, is that the A/C in their office is working fine, but they spend most of their time out of the office cleaning kennels, feeding the dogs, and trying to keep them comfortable in the heat.

They said the broken unit is making their jobs harder.

"It takes long when you're this hot too," Smallwood said. "What usually should be three or four hours turns into five or six hours."

Animal control officials said they are not sure of exactly what to do just yet - if they will get a new unit, a used one, or replace the broken part.

So far they have been given a quote - a brand new unit would cost $4,200. And to replace the broken part on the current unit is $2,000, something officials said they cannot afford right now.

"This will be one thing that I'll definitely bring up in my budget meeting, where we can possibly put the cost of a new unit in our budget," said Gene Mills, director of Hardeman County's solid waste and animal control department.

Unit then, volunteers said they will continue to do what they enjoy doing - taking care of the dogs, and finding them loving homes.

Volunteers said they hope everything will be back to normal in time for their next adoption event on July 21, but they hope it will be even sooner.
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