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Unleashed Pet Rescue, a Johnson County animal shelter, is currently facing license issues due to errors and omissions in its renewal applications. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) has stated that Unleashed made mistakes and was not truthful in its application, specifically regarding documents related to veterinary care. As a result, the shelter does not hold a valid state license at present. This article will provide an overview of the situation, including the allegations made against Unleashed, the response from the shelter’s representatives, and the ongoing investigation by KDA.
Licensing Errors and Omissions
According to documents obtained through the Kansas Open Records Act, Unleashed Pet Rescue failed to provide accurate information in its renewal applications, leading to the denial of its license. The KDA highlighted the absence of a current vet care form on file between September 15 and October 4 of this year. Despite this, Unleashed claimed in its application, postmarked September 29, that it had the necessary documentation. The KDA considers the failure to provide accurate information about veterinary care as grounds for denying the license renewal.
KDA spokesperson Heather Lansdowne stated that Unleashed did submit some additional required documents after the deadline, but a decision regarding the license renewal is still pending. Until a determination is made, Unleashed is not licensed to operate as an animal shelter. However, the shelter has been allowed to continue adopting out animals currently in its care until December 1, 2023, while not accepting any new animals during this period.
Denial of Allegations
Unleashed Pet Rescue, run by president and founder Danielle Reno, vehemently denies the allegations made by the KDA. The shelter’s attorney, Court Kennedy, issued a statement asserting that Unleashed is legally operating under a valid license and refuting all the accusations. Kennedy emphasized that Unleashed has been serving the animal community for over a decade, saving approximately 50,000 unwanted animals to date. The shelter believes it will prevail against what it considers to be false allegations once all the facts are known.
Investigation into Dog Auctions and Reselling
In addition to the licensing issues, the KDA is investigating claims that Unleashed Pet Rescue has been purchasing dogs from animal breeders through dog auctions and reselling them under the guise of rescuing them from high-kill shelters. Records obtained by the state show evidence of contact and a financial statement between Reno and an auction agent in May 2022. According to the records, dogs were bought at auctions for $50-$100 and then resold for approximately $800 at Unleashed. Such actions are considered grounds for denying a license renewal.
Housing Unaltered Dogs without Proper Examination
Another allegation raised by the KDA is that Unleashed Pet Rescue has been housing unaltered dogs at foster homes without prior veterinary exams or required medical documents. During a September 2023 inspection, state inspectors discovered an adult dog in a foster home that had not been neutered or spayed and lacked medical documents or a written opinion from a vet explaining the reason for not undergoing the procedure. Subsequent investigations revealed that more than a dozen other animals were in similar situations. These actions are in violation of the policies outlined in the Kansas Pet Animal Act.
Loss of Contracts and Revocation Proceedings
Unleashed Pet Rescue has faced consequences for its licensing issues. The shelter has lost its contracts with the animal control divisions in both Edwardsville and Mission. Furthermore, the KDA initiated revocation proceedings against Unleashed earlier this year. A pre-hearing is scheduled for December 6, 2023, with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, where both parties will present their arguments and evidence.