WALLINGFORD — The state Department of Agriculture issued another warning last month to the municipal animal shelter after the facility failed a reinspection.
According to the inspection report, the town’s animal shelter, 5 Pent Road, did not pass a reinspection performed Sept. 29 due to cracks and chips in the cement walls and flooring of the kennel areas.
The cracks need to be repaired and sealed to be made impervious to water to allow for proper disinfection, the report noted.
Kelli Baker, a state animal control officer, performed the reinspection after the facility did not pass an inspection June 25, and was issued an initial warning citing the same issues with cracked cement floors and walls.
The cracked cement was the only noted deficiency in the warning, but Baker also recommended that rugs, approximately 3 feet by 7 feet, not be used in the office area, or that the rugs be disinfected daily.
The bottom of the warning about the cracked cement notes that continued violations or failure to make corrections could result in fines, license suspension or revocation or shelter closure.
Jeremiah Dunn, chief state animal control officer, said Wednesday that his office doesn’t immediately levy fines if a facility does not pass inspection.
The goal is compliance, he said. A warning was issued with a reinspection to be scheduled on or about Jan. 8, 2022.
Dunn accompanied Baker on the Sept. 29 inspection, and they met with town Animal Control Officer Mitch Gibbs.
Gibbs said Wednesday that the town had hired a contractor to repair the kennel area prior to the reinspection, and that he’s waiting for the work to be scheduled.
The town hired Ferraro's Painting & Restoration, of North Haven, to perform patching and painting work for $14,545. The bid was awarded Sept. 13, according to town purchasing records.
Bids close Thursday for installation of an HVAC unit at the shelter. A pre-bid meeting took place at the shelter Sept. 29, at the same time reinspection was happening.
Baker’s report stated that at the time of the visit, “several HVAC contractors and members of (the town) Public Works Department were onsite performing a walk-through prior to the bidding process for improvements to the current HVAC system.”
The lack of shelter air conditioning became a political issue in Wallingford when temperatures reached close to 100 degrees in late June.
The June 25 inspection was prompted by a complaint that the state Department of Agriculture received, which stated that Wallingford’s animal shelter posed a danger to the animals and staff "with no functioning cooling system, inadequate laundry facilities and staffing issues."
The scope of the investigation was limited to what the agriculture department regulates, the report noted.
Baker issued a warning for "minor chips and cracks in some of the walls and flooring in the kennel area," according to the June 25 inspection report.
Baker met with Wallingford’s assistant animal control officer Rachel Amenta, who said to Baker that the air conditioning in the office area was in the process of being repaired.
Baker noted that although at the time of the inspection, the temperature at the facility was within state regulations and "comfortable," temperatures in areas that dogs are housed are to be kept between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
On June 28, Baker followed up with Police Lt. Stacy Sacharko , who was supervising animal shelter operations at the time.
Sacharko told Baker that the air conditioning unit in the office was being repaired, and that air conditioning in the kennels would be provided by the existing duct work. He said that if the temperature get above 90 degrees, alternate kenneling arrangements would be made for the animals.