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Tag: terminated

Shelters in Guilford, Davidson counties shut down amid continuing investigation

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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)

Sheriff’s deputy treated like a dog

A sheriff’s deputy arrested on a DUI charge in Tennessee was thrown into a “K-9 cage” by state troopers who said it was for his own protection.

Samuel Monroe Bledsoe, 47, who has been terminated from his job as a deputy with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly tried to slam a squad car door on a trooper, kicked the inside of a squad car and was vomiting on himself, according to the Kingsport Times-News.

He was placed in a “K-9 cage” to prevent injury to himself or state property, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer’s arrest report and a court affidavit.

Troopers said Bledsoe was found asleep in the front passenger seat of his wife’s car, and was unable to perform a sobriety test as instructed, even though it was explained to him 18 times. He was arrested and placed in the back seat of an officer’s cruiser.

On the way to Bristol Regional Medical Center for a blood test, the officer had to pull over twice because Bledsoe was kicking the cage and the door of the cruiser, police said. After the second stop, officers got approval to transfer Bledsoe to the back of the patrol unit, which was equipped to house a police dog.

 “Due to the K-9 cage being smaller,” they said, he was less likely to injure himself there.

PetSmart fires manager for dog on the job

petsmartA PetSmart in New Jersey may be dog-friendly, but its recent firing of a staff member who brought his dog to work  is making it look something less than employee-friendly.

Eric Favetta was fired from his job at the PetSmart in Secaucus for bringing his dog into the closed store while working a last-minute overnight shift.

Favetta, 31, a PetSmart employee since July 2008, placed his dog Gizmo in the store’s empty day care facility while he spruced up the place for a special showing to potential business partners.

“I have always been the type of employee to go the extra mile,” Favetta told  the Newark Star-Ledger’s “Bamboozled” column.

The store, which encourages its customers to bring pets inside, labeled his deed “theft of services,” and fired him.

Favetta served nearly seven years as a dog handler for various military units in Afghanistan and Bahrain. He became operations manager at the PetSmart in Wayne and, based on his good record, was sent to Secaucus.

At 5 p.m. on Dec. 15, Favetta was asked to work a special overnight shift to prepare the store for a viewing by representatives for Martha Stewart’s company, which was considering adding its product lines to PetSmart.

“I brought my dog with me because I knew if I didn’t, he would have been home alone all day and all night until I returned home at 6 a.m. the next day,” Favetta said. Gizmo, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, spent the night in the empty store’s doggie day care facility as Favetta toiled.

Two weeks later, he was called on the carpet and fired.

PetSmart spokeswoman Jessica White explained the situation this way:

“In our eyes, our services business is huge, with our grooming and training and care. Those are viewed as sale items the same way items on the shelf are,”  she said. “To use the facilities and not pay for it — it falls under the same lines.”

A few days later, PetSmart reconsidered and offered him another job. But Favetta has since moved on. He’s now working as a dog handler for a company that uses animals to search for hazards.

(Photo: MITSU YASUKAWA/Newark Star-Ledger)

Now he can have a nice long vacation

An Ohio firefighter sentenced to 90 days in jail for killing his dogs has now lost his fire department job.

Columbus Public Safety Director Mitchell Brown said today that he has decided to terminate 43-year-old David Santuomo on the recommendation of the fire chief, according to an Associated Press report.

The thousands of messages the department received demanding the firefighter be stripped of his job probably played a role as well.

Santuomo pleaded guilty last month to three misdemeanors, including two animal cruelty counts. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them in December so he wouldn’t have to put them up in a kennel while he went on vacation.