Two dozen Sudburians took to the streets Tuesday, calling on the city to tighten its leash on the company running its animal shelter.

They allege that animals are being mistreated, partially because the city contract isn't strict enough.

Rally organizer Heather Regimbal said she hoped the protest at Tom Davies Square will inspire people to learn more about the problems she sees in city animal control.

Animal shelter protest, Sudbury

About two dozen people rallied outside Tom Davies Square Tuesday afternoon to draw attention to allegations that animals are being mistreated at the Rainbow District Animal Shelter, partially because the city contract isn't strict enough. (Erik White/CBC)

"We want change from the city,” she said. “We want an overhaul of the contract. And we just want the city to have a look at what's going on at the pound."

Regimbal said the contract needs to be more specific about how animals are put down and how large their cages are, which she says are common complaints about the Rainbow District Animal Shelter.

‘Defaming us in public’

The shelter's manager Richard Paquette said he's heard all these claims for months now — and said none are true.

"All of these complaints have been investigated by the city, the OSPCA and none of them have found any problems with our operation."

But Regimbal said what they're looking for is part of the problem.

"They're not strict enough, they're not strong enough,” she said. “And, I mean, they look at things like ventilation and cleanliness, where we want more in-depth on the drugs that are being used, how the animals are cared for, medical care when they come in."

Paquette attended yesterday's rally to gather evidence for a possible lawsuit, he said.

"These people are defaming us in public. We have explored our legal recourses.”

The issue could heat up in the coming months.

The city's animal control contract, which has been held by Paquette's company for the past 10 years, will be up for bids again this winter.