August 28, 2009 Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said she plans to drastically reduce the number of animals at the Madison Ark animal shelter.She said what the Ark has become in recent years is not what it was meant to be. “It was supposed to be a shelter for the city of Madison, where people could come and adopt animals that were picked up,” Butler said. “It has turned into an animal shelter for the region, and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.” Butler said the animal shelter should only have a half-dozen or so animals. At one time, it had close to 50 cats and 50 dogs, she said. The Ark, a no-kill shelter, has come under scrutiny since 20 kittens were put down last week for possibly being infected with a deadly feline virus. Nineteen kittens were taken to a Jackson animal hospital, where a veterinarian on Aug. 7 diagnosed another kitten — taken that day for treatment after having a seizure — as having feline infectious peritonitis. After the death of the kittens, misdemeanor animal cruelty charges were filed against executive director John Robison. Robison’s attorney, Tom Royal, on Thursday said Robison contends his actions were based on the “advise of veterinarians.” Robison was not at the Ark on Thursday.