A Prince George's animal cruelty prevention society has filed suit in County Circuit Court charging that the country-run animal shelter's treatment of many of its animals is brutal and inhumane.

According to the suit, filed by the Bowie-Collington SPCA, dogs and cats in the Forestville animals shelter are denied veterinary care and are put to sleep by untrained employes who often stab the animals several times with syringes before successfully hitting their hearts.

The suit also alleges that dull needles, inadequate amounts of sodium pentobarbital - the solution used in injections to kill the animals - and unnecessarily large needles often are used when putting the animals to slee, causing them needles and prolonged pain.

In one of three affidavits filed by shelter employes along with the suit, Cecilia Keller, an animal warden, stated that a live dog, which had been injected with inadequate amounts of sodium pentobarbital, was placed in the shelter's refrigeration room for dead animals overnight before the staff discovered it was still alive.

Mary Maxwell, a supervisor at the shelter, said this week that she "had no idea" there were complaints against the shelter and that the staff is "supposed to know how to kill dogs."

Robert Lynn, a veterinarian who is a member of the county's Animal Control Commission that overseas the shelter, said that "we had heard some people complaining about incorrect methods of euthanizing" [putting animals to sleep]. Because of the complaints Lynn said, he gave seven "lessons" to the shelter's staff on injection sodium pentobarbital directly into an animal's vein since it is quicker and much less painful than injections into the heart.