A Gloucester County animal shelter improperly euthanized hundreds of animals, left animals in unsanitary conditions and housed sick animals together, according to a state report.

An Oct. 21 visit by a state Department of Health inspector found a myriad of repeated problems at the Gloucester County Animal Shelter, all occurring between Jan. 2 and Oct. 9 of this year. It said animals were exposed to disease because of several health violations, and that 312 cats, 71 dogs and a rabbit had been euthanized before a mandatory seven-day holding period had ended.

The report found the shelter was placing cats in enclosures without cleanings in between occupants, exposing cats to infectious agents. It described one kitten showing signs of contagious illness — "which included a thick purulent nasal discharge, lethargy, lying with its face in the bottom of the enclosure" — being left in a room with other healthy animals instead of being moved to an isolation room. The kitten also didn't get prompt, basic veterinary care, according to the report.

The heat on a dishwasher used for cleaning food pans had been turned down to keep steam from escaping when the door was opened during a cycle — to the point where it wasn't hot enough to disinfect dishes, the report said. Manufacturers'' instructions for using disinfectant on animal enclosures and floors weren't being followed properly as well, according to the report.

The report says the state visit was prompted by a private complaint, and NJ Advance Media reports the inspection occurred just after a cat name Moe was euthanized before its owners could claim it.

Moe's death prompted an outcry and several media reports at the time. A Facebook group seeking "Justice for Moe" has nearly 1,500 followers.

The NJ Advance Media report quoted county spokeswoman Deb Sellitto saying the violations were either remedied or in the process of being remedied. The holding period issue has been under review since Moe's death, the report said.

"All animals do go to the vet, but a written (disease control) procedure is being drafted," the report quoted Sellitto saying .

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