Pueblo animal shelter under investigation for neglect

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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - Dozens of cats were removed from a southern Colorado shelter Monday afternoon because of possible animal neglect.

Concerns about the cats' welfare triggered a month-long investigation into the Steel Alley Cats Coalition on East Highway 50 in Pueblo.

"The initial investigation just came from concerns that there were cats on the property that weren't looking good and we wanted to make sure that they were getting the care that they needed," said Capt. Lindsey Vigna with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region's Animal Law Enforcement team.

Following that investigation, the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office had enough evidence to issue a warrant for ALE to search the shelter.

Vigna said many of the cats were in poor shape.

"Some upper respiratory infections, just some typical illnesses that tend to alarm us of maybe bigger issues that are going on."

HSPPR said four cats have died in the last five days. The animal shelter also failed three consecutive PACFA (Pet Animal Care Facilities Act) reports because of unsafe conditions, such as not quarantining diseased cats and not providing proper medical attention to cats in need.

ALE seized between 50-100 cats Monday. Vigna said she hoped for the best, but could not guarantee all of the cats would be OK.

"The outcome is different for each and every animal, and some of that might include adoptions, some of them might have transfers, and sometimes the most compassionate thing we can do is humane euthanasia," Vigna said.

The shelter could face animal neglect charges.