FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A community is sharing their concerns because the county animal shelter refuses to take in stray dogs — leaving them out on the streets.

“Right now we have an urgent immediate safety problem,” said Michele Lazarow, Hallandale Beach Commissioner.

Lazarow and others said Broward County Animal Care and Adoption has been turning away people trying to turn in strays, and as a taxpayer-funded shelter of last resort, that’s a problem.

And some police officers are saying they have been picking up the slack.

In September, 7News reported Hallandale Beach City commissioners received a letter from a police captain who told them he found it very disturbing that animal services refused to respond to a mortally injured dog, its wounds infested with flies and maggots.

“You’re putting public in danger and wasting police resources,” said Lazarow.

Hallandale Beach Police also said animal services refused to pick up a dog, who police eventually placed inside a holding cell when it just got too hot.

And Davie Police officers jumped into a canal to save a drowning dog, but they said they were denied help by the shelter.

One officer wrote in an email, “When I asked if the officers should have left the dog to drown in the canal last night, she stated it was a choice they made and yes, they should have left it, if they did not have other accommodations….”

The officer said he was in shock and had no words.

Back in December, we spoke with shelter director, Emily Wood, who said, “I certainly did not say that. It’s an exaggeration of a heated conversation.”

An auditor examining a host of problems at the shelter said this particular issue began when Wood updated intake practices that required local police officers to hold pets for 72 hours.

“A county facility is funded by the taxpayer, so they have access to bring a homeless animal,” said Lazarow.

A statement by Wood says, “The Broward County Animal Care division does not deny law enforcement agencies the opportunity to drop off stray dogs but appreciates municipalities and law enforcement agencies that temporarily house those pets and help locate their owners closer to where the pet was found.”

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