Wichita Animal Shelter reverses photo policy; rescues still refuse to adopt shelter pets

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita has reversed its policy that bans people from taking pictures and videos of the pets at the Wichita Animal Shelter.

Area animal rescue groups often take pictures and videos of shelter animals as a way to help get them adopted. The groups said the marketing tool has helped save hundreds of animals this year.

“When you take something like that away from us, you take away our ability to market to even save half the amount of dogs we would be capable of saving,” said Beauties & Beasts Rescue member Randi Carter.

The policy to ban photos and videos was put into place on Friday after the city said an adopted dog had attacked another dog, injuring the animal.

“Our goal is for the safety and orderly care of the animals and the safety for the public we serve,” said Wichita Police Captain Doug Nolte.

During a news conference on Monday, city officials announced it was reversing its decision and it would allow people to take pictures and videos. However, visitors must stay out of restricted animal hallways and cannot give treats to the pets.

Representatives from three local rescue groups, including Beauties & Beasts, K-9 Karma and Wichita Animal Action League, were at the news conference when the city made the announcement. The representatives said they were pleased with the policy reversal, but said they would not adopt dogs from the Wichita Animal Shelter until communication between the rescues and the city improved.

“Had those concerns been addressed with us privately instead of putting this ban on every person who enters the shelter, so this whole situation could have been avoided,” said Wichita Animal Action League Executive Director Sarah Coffman.

While shelter visitors can take pictures and videos of the animals, they will no longer be able to take visit the animals in the sick and injured hall, the quarantine hall and the rabies hall.

“What I have got to be able to do to go to sleep at night is know that we aren’t putting a dog that is aggressive or somehow could hurt someone out into the public,” Cpt. Nolte said.

“Those dogs have a voice just like the dogs in ‘A’ hall and I am those dogs’ voice just as much as I am ‘A’ halls,” Carter said.

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