Several people who showed up to the Spencer County Commissioners meeting Thursday morning say previous attempts to voice concerns about alleged animal abuse at the county shelter have been shut down.
“They wouldn’t let us speak at meetings. They didn’t really have an interest in hearing what we had to say, and so today we wanted to kind of get in front of as many people as we could,” animal advocate Brian Buxton said.
Buxton and others got their chance Thursday near the end of the meeting.
The board heard from members of the animal advocacy group Alley Cat Allies, and people that worked at the shelter, all of whom said it’s time for action.
“I’m feeling extremely frustrated that almost nothing has been done,” said former animal shelter employee Bridget Woodson. “I was asked on two different occasions to put live cats that were injured in the freezer to die.”
“This person who allegedly did these things is still taking care, or supposed to be taking care of animals at the shelter,” said Alice Burton, Associate Director of Animal Control and Animal Shelter Engagement for Alley Cat She should have been immediately suspended.”
Shelter director Christina Payne still has her job.
Commissioner Tom Brown, who is also on the animal control board, says the shelter has made policy changes, but won’t change personnel while the investigation is on going.
“I think we’re all concerned. I think the folks that are involved in the animal shelter, on the board, all care about animals, the folks that have worked there, but that’s going to just run its course. I ask you to be patient,” Brown said.
“Tell the animals that. Tell the animals have patience, and that they don’t get put down, or stuffed into a freezer,” Woodson said in response.
Alley Cat Allies has started a sign-on letter it says almost 8,000 people have signed calling for change at the shelter. Burton, a former animal control officer, says it should be an easy call to make.
“In all those years that I prosecuted animal cruelty cases, this is one of the worst ones that I’ve seen.”
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(This story was originally published on September 20, 2018)