When Jennifer Brause first started at the Baltimore City animal shelter, “it was just the place to dump animals. And owners were lied to. They were told their surrendered animals would be placed, but they were euthanized immediately upon intake.”

That’s according to Brause’s heart wrenching interview in People, which follows her first experiences at the animal shelter in 2004 — when it euthanized 98 percent of the over 11,000 animals it received each year — to the much rosier reality at what now the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Car Shelter, or BARCS.

Brause recounts watching staff kicking and injuring animals, cleaning cages with bleach without removing the pets first. “There wasn’t any effort made at all,” Brause said. “There was just suffering.”

Thanks to her efforts, as well as the support of key people, such as the former commissioner of public health, People reports that BARCS’s euthanasia rate is as low as 15 percent, and Brause wants to take it lower.

“It is the happiest place in the world?” volunteer Jean Sommers asks. “No, but it’s the happiest place the animals can be right now. They aren’t on the street. They are well cared for. And Jen keeps working hard, improving things, getting the word out.”