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City Asks Animal Group to Change Facebook Page

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

MZ Critterz staff member Mary Simmons plays with the dogs at the animal shelter recently.
Photo provided

The city of Oxford, through its attorney, sent a letter to a proclaimed animal rights Facebook group, requesting they change the name and logo being used on the page.

Alderman Janice Antonow said Monday morning that City Attorney Pope Mallette sent a letter via email to the address listed on a Facebook page named “City of Oxford Animal Shelter.” The page had a revised version of the city’s logo as its profile picture.

“We did not want anyone to visit this Facebook page and think it was a city-sanctioned site,” Antonow said this morning.

By Monday afternoon, the page’s profile picture was updated and the city of Oxford’s circle and tree logo was removed. The name of the group was changed to Oxford Animal Shelter Citizens for Transparency Accountability.

Messages to the group’s unknown administrator were not returned Monday evening.

According to the Facebook page, the page is managed by “local animal welfare advocates to keep Oxford citizens updated about the management of the Oxford, MS animal shelter facility.”

“And they are welcome to do that, of course, but not with the city’s logo and name,” Antonow said.

Most of the posts are critical of the newly selected group, MS Critterz, that was chosen by the Oxford Board of Aldermen in September to run the city’s animal shelter, after the former group, Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, decided not to renew its contract with the city and instead pursuing ways to provide free and low-cost spay and neutering facilities and programs for Lafayette County.

One post said there were concerns about the shelter not having “regular public hours.”

Antonow said the shelter is opened from 12 to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

“They have regular hours,” Antonow said. “They have had to close a couple of days for pest control which they’ve been doing pretty regularly.”

MS Critterz president Gail Brown said the shelter is open, taking in animals and adopting them out to new homes. She estimated the shelter has about 80 dogs and cats currently, with many of them in foster homes.

“We just got our furniture last week so there’s still some work to be done but we are open and operating,” she said Monday.
Brown said some of the delay was due to the extensive cleaning that needed to be done when MS Critterz took over the shelter on Oct. 1; however, Antonow said the condition OLHS left the shelter in was not unexpected.

“It’s an animal shelter, not a daycare or hospital,” she said. “(OLHS) did a fairly good job cleaning up. It’s not a place that’s ever going to be spotless.”

Brown said now the shelter is focused on getting more kennels for puppies and hiring additional staff.

“We have two kennel attendants currently and we’re in the process of hiring a third,” Brown said. “We’re looking to fill some other part-time positions, including the part-time receptionist, animal control officer and kennel attendant.”

Brown said the shelter will be looking at hiring a shelter director in the “next few weeks.”

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