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Sheriff disagrees with DA’s decision not to charge Guilford shelter employees

barnesThe sheriff of Guilford County is making it clear he disagrees with the district attorney’s decision not to file animal cruelty charges against former managers and employees of the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

Sheriff BJ Barnes took to Facebook to voice his displeasure with the decision.

“We still have missing animals that cannot be identified by records available. We have dead animals stacked five foot high in the shelter freezer with no explanation as to why, the shelter had a crematorium. We still have computers to review, but it seems that criminal charges for abuse are not going to happen,” Barnes wrote.

The DA’s office announced earlier this week that cruelty charges would not be pursued against three employees, all of whom also worked at the Davidson County Animal Shelter and still face charges there.

The three were part of the United Animal Coalition, which ran both shelters until the nonprofit organization’s license was revoked in August, about a month after investigations into the two shelters began.

Barnes said the sheriff’s office presented the Guilford County DA with the “five most horrendous cases of abuse we found at the shelter … I will not go into particulars out of respect for those like me who love animals, but know it involves broken bones, open wounds and some missing body parts,” he wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

Barnes said prosecutors thought it would be too difficult to prove who was actually responsible for the abuse.

“The ultimate decision was the shelter manager’s, but her defense could be she was not told of the situation by her subordinates and the documentation was so poor (also the managers responsibility) that it became one person’s word against the other person’s word, both with vested interest.”

Barnes added, “The atrocities that occurred at the shelter are hidden by poor management, poor oversight by management and the board and poor oversight by both the state and the county. I’m saying this now because since the DA is not going to prosecute the facts can be brought out without fear of hurting the case.”

The sheriff said that the shelter, since its operation was taken over by the county, is “in better shape now … and things have been put back in order. Someone should have to be held accountable for the pain and suffering of the animals at both shelters…”

The DA and Guilford County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the shelter in July, looking into allegations of animal cruelty and financial misappropriation at the shelter. The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the potential financial misconduct by the nonprofit group running the shelter.

A similar investigation in Davidson County resulted in indictments against the same three employees on felony animal cruelty charges — former shelter director Marsha Williams, her daughter Dana Williams-King and Marissa Studivent, a veterinary technician.

Studivent’s husband told FOX8 he is not surprised that Guilford County decided not to pursue charges against his wife. He said Davidson County should not have, either.

“These charges were unjust and unfair and never should have happened,” Michael Studivent said. “And the fact that Guilford County has turned around and said there’s nothing here — yeah that does validate my point.”

In addition to animal cruelty, Williams faces two charges of keeping a controlled substance at the Davidson County shelter as well as two felony counts of obstruction of justice.

Davidson County officials said Monday they are still reviewing the charges the three employees face there.


Comment from chris
Time November 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Can DA’s get any LAZIER ? Seriously ? Do your freakin’ jobs and prosecute – at least I imagine it’s due to sloth and not being paid off, another fine North Carolina tradition !

Comment from Judith Pannebaker
Time November 5, 2015 at 6:34 pm

So, SOMEONE associated with this animal “shelter” allowed dogs to be abused, mistreated and turn up missing, as well as other atrocities, but NO ONE will be held accountable. Is that what I’m reading? What will happen then is that all the employees, including the no-neck monster thugs among them, will go on to other jobs – probably in the animal control sector. There will be nothing in anyone’s personnel file or on the Internet to alert future employers that perhaps this person should not be given a position that allows them to deal with animals. This is reprehensible. SOMEONE allowed this to occur and OTHERS knew about it and did NOTHING. (Sorry, for the all caps, John, I know it’s not journalistically proper, but this case particularly infuriates me!!!)

Comment from terry shinaerry
Time December 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

I know these people they worked along with HSUS Director named Kimberley Auboum taking in animals in many phony confiscation raids. Asking for your donations to help he dogs get cared for adopted out. When in fact they are killed and stacked in the freezer. They keep the money in their pockets. If someone really wanted the truth all you need to do is check their person bank accounts and tax records. You will see they live way beyond there means. There income dose not line up with what they earn legally. What they drive and how they live is from money they taken from the blood of animals that they tortured and killed. Some one needs to look a little harder. They will fine out that is what has been going on for some time.