AL Shelter Volunteers Charged with Animal Cruelty

Two young women in AL, described as volunteers at the Walker Co pound, have been arrested and charged with 23 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty each.  The charges stem from a report made to police by one of the volunteers’ family members, with whom she lived.  The family member told police there were dozens of live dogs at his home, all brought there from the pound by the volunteer, and approximately 50 dead dogs in trash bags on an adjacent property.  Authorities seized 23 dogs from the home and killed 7 of them due to their medical conditions.  The women have not been charged in connection with the dead dogs and are currently jailed on a $6900 bond each.

There are two additional news clips on the story here.

I tried searching online to find what, if any, connection exists between the current Walker Co pound and the now defunct Walker Co HS but was unable to find any information.

(Thanks Clarice for these links.)

20 thoughts on “AL Shelter Volunteers Charged with Animal Cruelty

  1. How many problems do you see in this issue with these poor animals? Curtis – age 19 – was listed as a “longerm volunteer” with the shetler. At age 19.

    Curtis’ uncle stated “almost immediately after Curtis moved into his home, he began to notice his niece bringing home more and more animals from the shelter. The shelter permitted her to take dogs off the property with the assumption that they pets were being adopted or “fostered out.” ”

    How long does this kind of thing go on before the uncle you’re living with calls the Director and says you knnow – she’s only 19 and you’re letting her take home way too many animals. OR there’s no way we can feed all these animals and keep them clean.

    So the Shelter Director let’s this young girl take home what sounds like upwards of 70 dogs? with the “assumption” they would be fostered out. OK – no home visit? No vet care? No paperwork on how many she’s taken home? And who does the foster paperwork then?

    But have no fear – the Director says new procedurs are in place so that this won’t happen again. Well – not to THESE 53 dead dogs anyway…

  2. You usually have to be 18 to volunteer and work directly with the animals. Whoever is the director of this shelter needs to be fired.

  3. Come on people. Pick one (edited) side of the fence and stay on it. You get a few news clippings and your pronouncing these radical judgments. Think for a minute. She was probably keeping the dogs from being killed. Desperate problems require desperate action. Looks to me like she may have been the animals last hope. Something I thought everyone on here espoused. The ones that died were probably ill to begin with and at the top of the list to be killed. How many times in the commentaries and in these comments have we agreed that ill, frightened and last chance dogs were better off in a bad home than dead and you all are calling for her to be prosecuted? What the yesbiscuit is wrong with you?

    Just for the record, from what I get from reading between the lines. The one county will contact the other one and tell them that the girl was just trying to save the animals from the hellhole of a shelter they have and please make this thing go away to give them a chance to clean some things up. In the long run she may have accomplished what she was after and that was to save the animals.

    In the meantime as a way of saying there are eyes on this case lets find out where the animals went and do a yesbiscuit fundraiser and send a donation for them and use some for her legal fund if needed. (i think it was the chipin used before would not take my debit card if there is another one to use?)

    As a side note, why would her uncle call the police? Does that not seem a little odd? Maybe an animal hater that was not getting the attention he thought he should get? I will double down on him having double psych problems.

    Carry on with the magnificent solutions you were proposing.

    1. Well “Chris”, I would agree with you that they were probably pulling animals to keep the pound from killing them. But it doesn’t sound like they were doing a bang up job exactly. If they were pulling dogs who were medically hopeless and suffering, that is cruel – those dogs should have been euthanized. If they were pulling dogs with treatable conditions, they should have been treated. I know rescued pets can die, despite efforts to save them, and had it happened once or twice, I think the situation might be viewed differently. But they are saying 50 dead dogs and among the 23 live dogs, 7 so bad off they had to be killed. Better off in a bad home than dead – yes. I agree. But this home appears to have been making them dead – not as an exception but as a rule. It doesn’t mean it’s right for the county to kill them at the pound instead of doing their jobs. Nor is it right to have these young women take them and have them piled into trash bags. We do not have to choose between these two scenarios.

  4. You know, I kind of have to agree with Chris. The amount of information you give here is so little it’s almost worse than no information at all. I’m not willing to condemn these volunteers until I know more. But the amount of jumping to conclusions here is pretty typical of people who claim to be animal lovers.

    1. There are 50 dead dogs in garbage bags dumped on private property adjacent to this home. That’s not jumping to conclusions. That’s a huge red flag that things are amiss there.

      On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 12:15 PM, YesBiscuit!

    2. I agree with Shirley. Having been in the AC biz – this is NOT jumping to conclusions. 50 dead dogs is HUGE. Even some hoarders and fighting rings don’t have anywhere NEAR this many animals – and especially NOT DEAD. The fact is that even if these animals had Parvo or Distemper and died…they were NOT given vet care. NO VET would allow an “owner” to take 50 dead dogs home – or to even own 50 sick dogs – and not investigate.

      What we all know is that the sheltering system is broken – and this shelter is a big part of what happened to these 50 dogs. They also are contributors to these young girls taking in this many dogs. I know fully reputable licensed compassionate rescues who don’t have 50 dogs on site at one time. I have seen Animal Control Directors give animals to many people who were already overburdened – because Director did not want to KILL the animals or felt they were out of options. This creates an equally poor situation – just off site – out of mind – and off the county budget.

      THIS is a hoarding case in the making. Very seriously – this is NOT hysteria. This is a case of a young girl thinking that she can do better for these animals than if they were anywhere else. And that is not realistic. There is not enough time in one day for two people to tend to this many animals and keep them safe.

      It’s sad.

  5. I live in walker county. Unfortunately there is a serious drug problem in this area. It makes it very difficult to get good help in jobs that pay well much less in a position like this. This County pound here has been continuously cursed with this sort of thing. There were volunteers who were taking funds from the pet donations, abusing the animals , neglecting the animals. The place smelled of death and filth the last time I was there. I haven’t been in there in a long time but I work nearby in pet related business and I’m constantly hearing about the situation there. They seem to have had new people come in and actually try to help the animals. Most likely this girls heart was in the right place and she wanted to save dogs from being PTS. I know of plenty of people have taken animals home from there recently without even making the donation because the shelter simply would rather release them to a home for free than have to put the animal down. The area here itself makes it nearly impossible to improve the situation of the pound. Its one of many problems in a county battling meth addictions, poverty and abusive homes for kids.

    1. Leigh –
      Volunteers can help with many of these issues – including cleaning. There’s no excuse for a shelter to be unclean. Bleach is cheap. Has Walker County tried a Trustee Program with NON-violent inmates helping out at the shelter? I’ve had experience with this program and it works well – it does take management…but then so does a Volunteer Program. The county I live in – Cheatham County, TN – is not much different than Walker County.

      Walker County, AL

      Cheatham County, TN

      Our AC Department and shelter were horrendous when I was volunteering there. We had a change in Mayor – and over 1/2 of our Commissioners (all elected of course). I was given the AC Director position then. We made MUCH progress from a horrendous situation to an over 80% save rate in 8 months – with a 15% cut in my budget that year due to the 1000 year flood in 2010.

      You are only 22 miles from Birmingham and there are many good rescues there.

      It only takes a desire to WANT to make changes. Even small changes make a huge difference. I’m not saying it’s easy – but we cannot discount the value of small changes and efforts because nothing has worked before.

      1. I want to add that there is a big Meth issue in Cheatham County as well. There is most everywhere now. And – we have the great distinction of being a hub for the national dog fighting transports as well. We have been for nearly 30 years.

  6. Where can these creatures go to be safe? It’s just so disturbing that there are people who PRETEND to help but are out to cause pain and suffering.

    1. Unfortunately – in some areas and some instances there is no safe place for the animals. The Director is responsible to find and approve the safe places for animals. Many times people feel ANYWHERE is better than a shelter and sure death. There are many options that can be explored but you have to have a system and a plan.

  7. I quickly looked through the stories but did not watch all the videos but I saw no mention of “50 dogs in trash bags.” Her uncle said “some dead dogs on neighboring property”. I did see one picture of about 13 or 14 puppies so we can assume that 50 to 100% of the “dogs” are actually puppies and maybe small dogs. Not sounding so bad now to me.

  8. Longer, how many facts of the story did I miss here? I had all the vids qued up to watch and my browser crashed and before I switched to another I got sidetracked and never back to watching them.

    In the meantime that bogus study came out about cats and the environment that is going to take a whole lot of fact checking and info circulation to undo the damage it is doing. It is really bad news. I think we need more scientist animal advocates. They seem to be able to put out biased info and the media just takes off and runs with it.

  9. Shirley – on the Cat Study…it’s REALLY bad news. I agree we need more scientists involved in advocacy. My brother is the MPH – Epidemiologist for Eugene, OR. Previously with the CDC and the President of the national org over all public health labs. Why do I say all this? He and I have often spoken about the necessity for MPH involvement in animal welfare – as it is a comjmunity health and safety issue and needs education. He has done much in sharing with me and I with him. Lane County – Eugene – recently removed their AC from the Health Dept and it is now a stand alone volunteer run facility as of the new budget year (July 2013). We’ll see how that goes…Each State has a State Veterinarian and a State Vet Board that is over Vet licensing and and Euth Tech Certs. I think we need to engage these people in the cause for the animals.

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