The Kansas Department of Agriculture has officially revoked the license of beleaguered Mission animal shelter Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption.
In an emailed statement Wednesday, Heather Lansdowne, director of communications for the department, told the Shawnee Mission Post that an order revoking the shelter’s license was issued Tuesday, expanding on an emergency order issued the week last for the shelter to immediately stop accepting new animals.
The shelter failed a state inspection in October, kicking off the license revocation process, and it has come under increasing scrutiny following media reports that animals were housed in unsanitary conditions.
The state’s latest action comes as Unleashed continues to ask for donations online and, according to its social media posts, has begun laying off workers.
The state has found ‘new citations’ in recent weeks
Lansdowne said Tuesday night’s order to revoke Unleashed’s license was accompanied by “new citations” from the findings of investigations over the past few weeks.
The exact nature of those citations is unclear, and Landsowne said the state was unable to share additional details about the investigations and findings due to ongoing legal proceedings.
Lansdowne said these more recent investigations were conducted to track and determine the validity of complaints against Unleashed.
Unleashed is able to request a hearing with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings to appeal the order revoking its license, Lansdowne confirmed.
The animal shelter must make this request within 15 days of issuing the order, Lansdowne said.
Unleashed can also accept the order and return its license within the 15-day window, Lansdowne said.
A lawyer representing the shelter could not be reached for comment for this story.
An October investigation by KDA’s Animal Facility Inspection Program found insufficient floor space in some kennels, Unleashed attorney Court T. Kennedy previously told The Post.
The shelter has come under greater scrutiny following a Fox 4 report in January citing complaints from customers and employees about the shelter’s conditions.
These complaints included things like “dog bowls full of cockroaches”, injured and sick animals and a dog who had a rash from wearing an anti-anxiety vest.
The order is not yet effective
Lansdowne previously told the Post that when a licensee requests a hearing on a revocation order, that order does not take effect until the appeals process is complete.
Yet the March 10 emergency order takes effect immediately and prevents Unleashed from taking any more animals, even through the appeals process.
“The emergency order was important to ensure that no more animals enter the facility while the appeal is ongoing, primarily because if the revocation is upheld on appeal, it will limit the number of animals who will need to be moved to approved shelters at that time,” Lansdowne previously told the Post.
The Animal Shelter on Facebook on Wednesday night appealed to the public for donations to keep Unleashed’s doors open.
The post, which did not directly address the state’s decision to revoke the shelter’s license, said it costs about $192,000 per month to keep Unleashed operational and estimates that “nearly 5,000 will die just this year” if Unleashed does not stay open.
The post also claimed that Unleashed had started laying off staff.
At a Mission City Council meeting on Wednesday, councilwoman Debbie Kring said she received an email request to donate to Unleashed the same day.
“The reason I’m bringing this up, I don’t know how many other people in this town have figured it out, but there’s potential unrest there,” Kring said. “We kind of have to be careful about people who respond to financial support from this entity that seems to be in trouble right now.”
This story originally appeared on the Shawnee Mission Post.