Sworn Testimony Details Abuse at Campbell Co Pound in TN

The Campbell Co pound in TN is currently closed while the state conducts an investigation into alleged wrongdoing, centered around director Betty Crumley.  The disturbing allegations of animal abuse have gone largely unsubstantiated – until now.  In April, employee Brenda Watkins provided sworn testimony regarding her experiences at the pound and that testimony was made public this week by the LaFollette Press (paywall, with option for limited time free subscription).

Ms. Watkins began working at the pound in 2006 and was there the day that Ms. Crumley took over in 2008 – a day that the shelter had some empty cages:

“The first day she came in she done a count on all the animals and said ‘this is way too many animals in the shelter’ and that would change,” Watkins testified.

One of Ms. Crumley’s first orders to her staff was that rescues would cease, according to Ms. Watkins’ testimony.  No reason was given.  Staff began calling rescue groups on their own to try to save animals.  Ms. Crumley picked which animals would be killed and some of them were highly adoptable according to the testimony.  Some animals were killed in retaliation over personal disagreements Ms. Crumley had with individual pet advocates:

“If she was upset with a rescue, she wouldn’t let them pull. If it was a person that she didn’t like or was upset with or just didn’t want them to have that dog…they couldn’t adopt it,” Watkins said. “The majority of the time, they would be euthanized.”

There were often more dead cats in the freezer than there were on the intake sheet.  Ms. Watkins could not say for certain why the pound had surplus cat carcasses but her understanding was that the extra cats had been trapped. The LaFollette Press offers this insight:

The shelter has a contract with Kennedy-Boyd Enterprises in North Carolina, a medical specimen facility that collects cat carcasses and distributes them to schools for dissection in biology classes. The county receives $3 for each specimen of at least 12 inches in length.

Ms. Watkins testified she regularly saw another employee kick the dog cages in order to scare the dogs.  Ms. Watkins once complained to Ms. Crumley about the killing of a group of dogs who had rescue secured.  Ms. Crumley described one of the dogs as being hunkered down in the back of the cage and so determined the animal to be aggressive.  From Ms. Watkins’ testimony:

 “I said ‘when people go down here kicking on the front of the cages, scaring them, yeah it’s gonna hunker down.’

Ms. Crumley offered no reply.

Warning:  The details of shelter pet abuse which follow may be too disturbing for some readers.

Ms. Watkins testified that dogs were killed in view of one another in their cages.  They were chokepoled and then jabbed with syringes of Fatal Plus.  While Ms. Watkins never witnessed Ms. Crumley inject an animal, she did testify that the syringes were drawn up by Ms. Crumley, who has admitted to guessing the appropriate dosage. Animals were injected in “random areas” of the body, not in accordance with standard veterinary practices:

“Some of them will die quickly. Some of them it takes quite a while. Some of them thrash around in their cages. Some there’s feces we have to clean up afterwards. Sometimes there’s blood we have to clean up afterwards,” she said.

Blood sometimes came from injection sites. Other times it came from an animal’s nose.

After euthanasia, sometimes the still-breathing animals were placed into the freezers alive.

“I have seen them taken out to the freezer still alive,” Watkins said.

At the end of March, a video surfaced online in which a male voice is heard telling Crumley there’s a problem, that an animal is in the freezer alive. In April, another video surfaced showing deep, bloody scratch marks on the inside of the chest freezers used to store animals before disposal.

Betty had no problem with live animals being sent to the freezer, Watkins said.

The county has no plans to replace Ms. Crumley and the pound remains closed, pending the completion of the state’s investigation.  A local volunteer group called Friends of Campbell County Animals (FCCA) is trying to provide care of the community’s homeless pets in the meantime.  They also have animals for adoption.

A volunteer with Friends of campbell Co Animals feeds a pregnant stray dog by hand in this photo from the group's Facebook page.
A volunteer with Friends of Campbell Co Animals feeds a pregnant stray dog by hand in this photo from the group’s Facebook page.

Thank you once again to the so-called irresponsible public for your dedication and hard work.

(Thanks Joni for the link.)

12 thoughts on “Sworn Testimony Details Abuse at Campbell Co Pound in TN

  1. I am very familiar with that woman Crumley and could not even read the whole article without crying again for the animals here. I applaud the courage and efforts of Brenda Watkins to stand up and speak out on what was wrong. Brenda should be appointed the new shelter manager. That other scum Crumley should be put in prison for a very long time…doubt if that will happen as she is related to the mayor or some other good old boy down there. There is a special place in hell for Betty Crumley right next to hitler.

  2. How is such sickness allowed to be put in charge of things? And then to be permitted to continue…I cannot understand those that enable the continuation of such…evil.

    Thank you Brenda for speaking up. For trying to end this horror.

  3. Why does anyone let dogs get into the shelter/”rescue” system? One can never know how the animals are treated…. what goes on behind the scenes. I would never give up any animal to any shelter or “rescue”. The system is just so “unknowable” and outcomes so uncertain for animals. I would put my own animal down before EVER letting it into the “system”, and I HAVE put down strays (after trying on my own to find the owner, having it scanned for chip, ads, etc) rather than turn it over to a shelter/”rescue”. I beg you all to PLEASE see for yourself anything that calls themselves a “rescue” and KNOW the people before turning an animal over to them. Many “rescues” are living hells. And shelters need to do this too! SEE and KNOW the “rescues”!

    1. Carol, Comments encouraging the killing of pets are not allowed here. This is a NO KILL blog.

      There are some places that hurt and kill animals – too many. This is why we must take action to reform these facilities.

  4. Thank you Brenda for being the voice for these animals. I cant even imagine the terror they all felt. This woman not only needs to be in jail but under the jail with the key lost forever.

  5. So glad this woman spoke up, this is so wrong and I do hope it gets wide coverage. My dogs must wonder why I often turn from the computer screen and just hug them for awhile, this is one of those times.

  6. What can a regular Joe like me do? Write a letter to they mayor? To the advisory board members? Looks like not a lot is being done, maybe if there is an overwhelming response of disgust they will feel a little pressure.

  7. OMG I read about this a few months ago.There were pics then and I seen dead dogs piled on top of one another in some kinda hole.So damn disturbing and sad that a human so called animal advocate can do such horrific things.These poor animals should never have to come across the likes of this bitch ever again.Love to get my hands on someone like that.

  8. the abuse by shelter manager betty Crumley must have reached Himalayan heights and i think the staff could not take it any more and had to speak up.. this is such a good thing for the shelter-pets there.. Kudos to Brenda Watkins for speaking for the shelter-pets and God bless her..and Friends of Campbell County Animals for helping them at this time.. the photo is so sweet of the sweet lady feeding the pet.. loved it..

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