A week after Guilford County prosecutors declined to pursue felony charges against the former county animal shelter director, Sheriff BJ Barnes was back before the cameras to announce new charges, and with a new ally at his side.
Barnes announced yesterday that former shelter director Marsha Williams has been served with five new misdemeanor citations for animal neglect.
He made the announcement with North Carolina’s First Lady, Ann McCrory, sitting next to him, and, next to her, Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Hank Henning.
Barnes was critical of the district attorney’s decision to not pursue felony animal cruelty charges against Williams and other two other former staff members he says were responsible for “horrendous” conditions at the shelter.
McCrory said she supports the effort and asked the district attorney to reconsider prosecution of the case.
On November 1, the district attorney’s office said there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against the former Guilford County Animal Shelter employees who had been charged after an investigation by the sheriff’s office.
Similar charges have been filed, and are still pending, against Williams and two other employees of the shelter in Davidson County, which was also operated by the nonprofit group United Animal Coalition.
In Guilford County, Sheriff deputies spent several months investigating allegations of animal abuse, mismanagement of funds and potential drug violations.
But officials in the district attorney’s office said the evidence to pursue cruelty charges was insufficient, showing a “systemic failure,” but pointing to no particular culprits who could be held responsible.
Sheriff Barnes voiced displeasure with that decision when it was made.
And yesterday, according to the Greensboro News & Record, he insisted the charges should be pursued, at least against the shelter director.
“Marsha Williams, as the manager, was in complete control. There was no decision made, live or die, without her being involved in the process,” he said.
Barnes also requested the cases in the two counties be consolidated, and be prosecuted in Davidson County.
McCrory, an animal rights advocate, said she’d requested to meet with Barnes to discuss the charges and show support for the case.
“This went beyond anything I’ve ever heard of in my life,” she said. “It’s basically torture. It’s beyond me that the Davidson County district attorney is going to prosecute. If that person has enough to charge and make a case … why don’t we have that in Guilford County?”
(Sheriff BJ Barnes, left, First Lady Ann McCrory, and Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Hank Henning; photo by Andrew Krech / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal shelter, animals, ann mccrory, bj barnes, charges, davidson county, district attorney, dog, dogs, first lady, greensboro, guilford county, marsha williams, neglect, new charges, north carolina, pets, prosecutors, sheriff
A grand jury returned animal cruelty indictments this week against three former employees of the Davidson County Animal Shelter as investigations continue into allegations of abuse there and at the Guilford County shelter.
Arrest warrants were issued yesterday for Marsha Williams, the former executive director of both shelters, as well as her daughter Dana Williams-King. Also indicted was Marissa Studivent, another director of the Davidson shelter.
Williams also faces two felony counts of obstructing the investigation and one felony count of possessing a controlled substance at the Davidson shelter.
Both facilities were managed by the United Animal Coalition, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that took over operation of the Guilford shelter in 1998, and took control of the Davidson shelter in December.
Both shelters had their licenses revoked by the N.C. Department of Agriculture in August.
The indictments stem from claims that the three women neglected to provide humane treatment to a dog admitted to the Davidson shelter in May with a broken back, the Greensboro News & Record reported.
The dog had been diagnosed with paralysis from the shoulders down, but she languished in her kennel for three days with no veterinary care before being euthanized.
That was the incident that sparked an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture, which found abnormally high numbers of animals had died in their kennels at the Davidson shelter.
The Lexington Police Department has been investigating the shelter, as has the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Despite the indictments, those investigations remain ongoing, as does a a separate investigation into the Guilford County shelter, by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
(Photo: Marsha Williams, by Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal shelters, animals, cruelty, Dana Williams-King, davidson county animal shelter, director, dog, dogs, greensboro, guilford county animal shelter, indictments, investigations, lexington, Marissa Studivent, marsha williams, neglect, north carolina, pets, united animal coalition, warrants
Citing 75 incidents of animal cruelty and a “systemic failure to care for animals,” the N.C. Department of Agriculture on Monday yanked the United Animal Coalition’s license to run animal shelters in Davidson and Guilford counties.
The non-profit organization has been running Guilford County’s animal shelter since 1998, when it was hired by the county to improve conditions.
Seventeen years later, the same sort of allegations have resurfaced during continuing investigations by state and county officials as well as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Department of Agriculture reports mention more than 100 cases of animals receiving inadequate medical care, including a cat with a broken leg and internal bleeding that went seven days without being seen by a vet and a dog with a gunshot wound to the face who went 12 days without medical attention before being euthanized.
The former shelter director in Guilford County, Marsha Williams, was suspended with pay earlier this month. As of yesterday, that pay was halted and Williams was officially terminated under the orders of the county commissioners.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners convened an emergency meeting Monday, voting unanimously to revoke the United Animal Coalition’s contract and to place the shelter under the county’s control on an interim basis.
A letter of revocation was delivered by hand to the shelter yesterday.
“The things we’ve learned are very disturbing and unacceptable, as I know it is for the community as a whole,” Commissioner Hank Henning, the board’s chairman, said at a press conference after the county commissioner’s meeting. “Our goal is to put transparency and a culture of efficiency back into the shelter, so the community at large can get the services and the shelter that it wants and deserves.”
The N.C. Department of Agriculture has been investigating both shelters for about a month following complaints about animal care and conditions, according to the Greensboro News & Record
The Davidson County investigation began after the state agency received a complaint that a dog had arrived at the shelter with a broken back but received no veterinary care.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency continues to investigate potential unspecified violations at both facilities.
Also still investigating are the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington Police Department.
“To be quite frank with you, I expect to see criminal charges come out of this,” said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.
Deputy County Manager Clarence Grier will serve as interim director of the Guilford County shelter, which will remain closed the rest of the week.
The facility is expected to reopen Aug. 22.
(Photo: Former Guilford County Animal Shelter director Marsha Williams; by Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal cruelty, animals, care, cats, closed, contract, contracted, davidson county, director, dogs, greensboro, guilford county, inadequate, lexington, license, marsha williams, medical, non-profit, north carolina, pets, revoked, shelters, terminated, united animal coalition, veterinary
Residents of Greensboro who tie up their dogs and leave them unattended can expect to start receiving warnings this week, and $500 fines by September, as Guilford County’s anti-tethering ordinance comes closer to being fully phased in.
The ordinance, approved by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 2013, prohibits the tethering or chaining of a dog without the owner present, or the use of any tether or chain less than 10 feet long.
To the uninformed, it might seem odd — an agency called “Animal Control” telling people to un-tether their dogs — but it’s another example of how, amid a new sensibility about dogs, the duties of such agencies have outgrown their name, and have (rightly) become more about helping animals than controlling them, and therefore should be called something else, something less archaic, something like the office of Animal Protection.
We tried to make that case last week, arguing that a new name could also go a long way toward improving the image of those offices, and pushing those that are still living in the past into modern times.
Animal protection, we think, is a better description of their modern day duties, or at least what their modern day duties should be.
Responding to complaints about chained dogs, and helping to free them, is a perfect example of that.
Guilford County Animal Control officers will be investigating complaints about tethered dogs and issuing written warnings to the owners until Sept. 1, when fines will go into effect. Until then officials will continue to educate residents about the new ordinance.
“We’ve done good about getting the word out and handing out fliers, posters and brochures to let people know it’s coming and it’s going,” Logan Rustan, the manager of Guilford County Animal Control, told the Greensboro News & Record. “But believe it or not, a lot of people just still have no clue.”
The ordinance took effect last March but is being phased in gradually to give residents time to comply.
It was welcomed by animal activists, and particularly by Unchain Guilford, a nonprofit organization that helps dog owners construct fences as an alternative to tying up their dogs.
Tethered dogs left unattended can easily injure themselves, and often develop behavioral problems.
“If you’re chained to a small area your entire life, you’re going to have issues interacting with other people — whether you’re a dog or a human,” said Ellen Metzger, a committee member for the group.
Many dogs who spend their lives tethered outside can easily make the transition to inside dogs, with a little training.
Greensboro resident Jennifer Thompson found that out when, shortly after the county passed the ordinance, she contacted Unchain Guilford for help.
Her 10-year-old pitbull-chow mix, Spike, had spent most of his life tethered in her yard.
“He was so big and was at the point where he would jump all over,” Thompson said. “I was kind of fearful of him.”
In Thompson’s case, volunteers also taught her training techniques to help Spike behave better. Spike lives inside the house now.
“I didn’t know this dog is so lovable,” she said. “e sat outside all these years, and he just wants somebody to love him. He’s such a sweet dog. I would not keep another dog outside, knowing what I know now.”
(Photo: Jennifer Thompson and her dog Spike; by JERRY WOLFORD / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, chained, chains, dog, dogs, fines, greensboro, guilford county, guilford unchained, north carolin, ordinance, pets, prohibited, tether, tethered, tethering, tied, warnings
Susie, the abused North Carolina dog who inspired a law, a movie, and a nonprofit organization, has been named the American Humane Association’s 2014 American Hero Dog.
Susie, found with burns over most of her body in 2009, received a standing ovation at the AHA‘s black-tie awards gala Saturday night in Beverly Hills, where she was one of eight finalists competing for the prize.
“I’m just blown away,” Donna Lawrence told TODAY.com after learning her dog had won. “There were so many amazing dogs with great stories. When they called Susie, I just wanted to cry.”
In 2009, Susie was found with severe second and third-degree burns over most of her body in Greenfield Park in south Greensboro. Her ears were burned off and she had a broken jaw and teeth. She was taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter and eventually nursed back to health.
She was adopted by Donna and Roy Lawrence — just 10 months after Donna was attacked while trying to help a neglected pit bull that had spent much of its life tied to a tree in her neighbor’s yard in High Point, North Carolina.
When the man who was convicted of setting Susie on fire was sentenced to probation, outraged dog lovers launched a campaign for tougher penalties for animal cruelty and abuse.
“Susie’s Law,” which made animal cruelty a felony in North Carolina, went into effect in 2010, signed by then-governor Bev Perdue.
Donna Lawrence went on to establish Susie’s Hope, a nonprofit organization that fosters awareness of animal abuse. In 2013, the story was made into a movie, also called “Susie’s Hope.”
Susie is now a certified therapy dog and visits schools, hospitals and churches to bring messages of kindness, respect and responsibility to children and adults.
Other finalists in the Hero Dog Awards, included:
Bretagne, one of the last known surviving search dogs who worked at Ground Zero in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
Kai, an arson dog who has worked more than 200 fire investigations in San Antonio
JJ, a little dog with a powerful nose that can detect when his human, ther a girl named KK Krawczyk, is about to have a life-threatening reaction due to a rare illness
Kota, a law-enforcement K9 who sustained multiple fractures while responding to a burglary in progress but who kept trying to help his police officer partner apprehend a suspect
Xena the Warrior Puppy, a dog rescued from extreme abuse who went on to help a little boy with autism in profound ways
Chaney, a military dog who served multiple tours sniffing out explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan
Xxon, a guide dog who helped an Air Force sergeant continue to serve active duty and regain independence after being blinded by explosives in Afghanistan.
The Hallmark Channel will air the awards show on Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time).
(Photo: American Humane Association)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 29th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, aha, american hero dog, american humane association, animals, awards, ceremony, cruelty, dogs, donna lawrence, greensboro, honor, north carolina, pets, pit bulls, susie, susie's law, susies hope, winner
While he’s not viewed as particularly warm and cuddly by Democrats — at least when it comes to helping humans in need — N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says he wants the public to adopt abandoned and mistreated dogs, and he and the first lady are opening up the governor’s mansion (or at least its yard) for an adoption event tomorrow.
McCrory is shown in this News & Observer video petting a pomeranian, seized in a recent puppy mill bust in Pender County.
Lexi will be among as many as 30 dogs — some coming from as far away as Greensboro and Charlotte to attend — who will be available for adoption at the event, which runs from 10:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. Saturday
While it seems odd protocol for an adoption event, anyone wishing to attend is asked to RSVP by today — by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The governor and first lady Ann McCrory are also promoting a bill to set minimum standards for breeding operations.
While the proposal isn’t too tough, relative to measures passed in other states, it sets standards ensuring that dogs have daily exercise, fresh food and water, shelter and veterinary care at breeding operations with at least 10 females.
The measure passed the House but didn’t get heard in the Senate before it recessed. The General Assembly reconvenes in May.
“I’m not going to give up on the bill,” the governor said at the press conference announcing the adoption event Wednesday. ”This dog issue is not a Democratic or Republican issue — it’s an independent issue for every one of us.”
The McCrorys have one dog, Moe, who lives at their Charlotte residence.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoptable, adoption, adoptions, animals, ann mccrory, bill, breeders, charlotte, dogs, event, executive mansion, first lady, governor, governor's mansion, greensboro, guilford county, health, humans, legislation, lexi, north carolina, pat mccrory, pender county, pets, pomeranian, proposal, puppy mill, raid, regulations, rescues, safety, seized, shelters, standards, wake county
All the terrible things humans do to dogs is another.
ohmidog! – as regular readers know — is not all fluffy, feel-good dog news all the time. We think it’s important not to turn a blind eye to animal abuse, in any of its forms, because only when the public fully knows what is going on can steps be taken to do something about it.
A case in point: Patrick, the starving New Jersey pit bull tossed down a trash chute at a high-rise apartment in Newark.
His reprehensible treatment, and subsequent resiliency, is not just tugging at the heartstrings of dog lovers everywhere, it’s uniting them to demand that those who abuse dogs be subject to punishments more in line with the ones received for violent crimes against humans.
If no one had seen those disturbing pictures of what Patrick looked like when he was taken in by Associated Humane Societies, there probably wouldn’t have been the outcry that has ensued. Publicity about his case has led not just to donations for his care, and that of dogs similarly abused, but to the sprouting of grassroots movements aimed at strenghtening animal abuse laws.
Patrick’s story, amid signs he’s continuing to recover, appears headed for a happy ending.
There was one in North Carolina this week that didn’t:
A female retriever mix, believed to be about 4 years old, was found wandering in the 6500 block of Lake Brandt Road in Greensboro on Tuesday after apparently being scalded with boiling water.
She was wearing a collar and a rabies tag, but the numbers could not be read, according to Marsha Williams, the animal shelter’s director. The nameless dog was responsive when she arrived at the animal shelter, but she was emaciated and suffering third-degree burns on her face, ears and legs. She died 30 minutes later.
The Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible. The Crime Stoppers number is 336-373-1000.
Very little is known about the dog, or what happened to her — and given as she has no known name, given that she didn’t survive — she’s not likely to emerge as a poster child or Internet sensation.
We share her story — or at least the sparse details known – for the same reason we passed along Patrick’s story; and that of Phoenix, a pit bull burned in Baltimore; and Susie, a puppy tortured in Greensboro; and Louis Vuitton, burned and beaten in Alabama; and Buddy, dragged to death behind a truck in Colorado.
And that’s because the public needs to know — the non-sugar-coated truth, unfathomable as it is, painful as it may be to see and hear.
That’s the only way change happens. Our hope would be that change would involve more than just harsher sentences for animal abuse. More severe sentences will send a message, serve as a deterrent and satisfy our need for vengeance, but they don’t address the underlying causes that, without making compassion for animals part of every school’s curriculum, ensure such incidents will continue.
ohmidog! tries not to be one of those websites that shoves animal abuse down your throat daily (sometimes the days just don’t cooperate, though). Similarly, it tries not be one of those blissfully ignorant websites that look only at the happy dog news, pawsing only for bad puns.
If you want to be totally shielded from the sad and gory, the depraved and the troubling, don’t come here.
Because when humans sink this low, whether they be punks in an alley, breeders at a puppy mill, or scientists in a laboratory, we will make note of it and, if we can, more than likely include a photo, too — not for the purpose of sensationalizing, but to inform and spark action.
That said, to see the photo, continue. To avoid it, don’t click, don’t scroll, just go back to our main page.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused dogs, animal cruelty, animals, boiling, buddy, crime, cruelty, dead, details, dog, dog websites, dogs, gory, greensboro, killed, law, louis vuitton, media, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, patrick, pets, phoenix, photos, pictures, pit bull, scalded, sentences, susie, torture, water, website