The buck’s got to stop somewhere. And in the case of a taxpayer funded shelter in New Brockton, AL, a grand jury decided somewhere was at the feet of the town’s mayor.
The Coffee Co sheriff’s department received a complaint about how the city was caring for the dogs at the shelter in May. Upon visiting the facility, they discovered malnourished dogs being kept in filthy pens with contaminated water and very little food. One dog had been improperly chained, causing injury, and 2 puppies were too sick to move.
New Brockton Mayor Lenwood Herron had apparently gone to the county commission about what to do with the dogs previously and had been told to transfer them to a nearby city pound. Officials in that city say they haven’t heard from the mayor or any other New Brockton officials for 5 years.
A local rescue group took responsibility for the dogs after the sheriff’s visit and one dog was euthanized for medical reasons.
In June, a grand jury indicted the mayor and he was charged with one second-degree count of cruelty to a dog or cat, a Class A misdemeanor. The town’s sole ACO was similarly charged and reportedly told investigators he would request dog food from the mayor but would go long periods without receiving the food.
This week, both the mayor and the ACO filed motions to have the charges against them dismissed. The mayor’s attorney argued:
[T]he Code of Alabama protects Herron from prosecution in this case since “neither the county or municipality, nor any employee or agent of the county or municipality, acting in good faith, shall be liable for any action taken.”
The circuit judge considering the motion “said while the statute provides for “good faith” acts, to argue that the mayor acted in good faith is a “question of fact” to be determined in trial”.
Good faith. Thank goodness the judge didn’t agree with that flimsy basis for dismissal. The case will now go to trial.
It’s worth noting that the charges were filed and the dogs were helped because one local citizen contacted the sheriff’s department. Meddling tree-huggers=1, New Brockton mayor=0.