Fresno County, CA contracts with Liberty Animal Control Services to provide its AC services. In a lawsuit filed this month, both are being sued by two former employees for wrongful termination and whistle blower retaliation. The suit alleges:
- Liberty AC was contracted in September 2012 without the county verifying credentials of the three main operatives – specifically that the veterinarian had been disciplined by the state vet board for negligent animal care and that the state certified animal humane officer was not certified.
- The plaintiffs were hired in January 2013 – one as an ACO and the other as an office manager. Both observed cruel and illegal treatment of animals while on duty and complained about same repeatedly.
- Liberty killed fully conscious animals via heartstick.
- Liberty killed animals using dosages of drugs that were less than the recommended dosages.
- Liberty ordered to staff to kill animals in front of other animals.
- Liberty lied in its reporting about the number of animals killed and instructed staff to lie about how and when animals were killed, including to owners trying to redeem lost pets.
- Liberty starved animals to death in order to avoid paying for injectable drugs and syringes to kill them.
- Liberty mixed healthy animals, including newborn litters, with sick animals in order to ensure the spread of disease resulting in death so the company did not have to pay for injectable drugs and syringes to kill animals.
- Liberty failed to purchase cleaning supplies and failed to clean kennels in order to ensure the spread of disease resulting in death so the company did not have to pay for injectable drugs and syringes to kill animals.
- Liberty mixed aggressive, starving dogs with mild-mannered, starving dogs to encourage fights resulting in death so the company did not have to pay for injectable drugs and syringes to kill animals.
- Liberty threatened staff members that if they became injured trying to break up a fight between the starving animals, they’d be fired.
- Liberty failed to vaccinate animals but represented them as vaccinated.
- Liberty encouraged employees to falsify records, labeling friendly animals as aggressive and healthy animals as sick in order to kill them.
- Liberty’s three main officers used Fresno Co taxpayer money and resources for personal gain, including providing AC services to other cities.
- Liberty solicited donations from the public while misrepresenting itself as a 501(c)3 organization.
- Liberty sold donated goods and pocketed the profits.
- The ACO plaintiff witnessed a pitbull being unlawfully killed by Liberty in June or July 2013 and questioned the killing. The dog’s owner was told by Liberty the dog had died of a heart attack. The ACO complained and was fired shortly thereafter. He was informed the county had decided to stop funding his position.
- The office manager plaintiff told her employer she was going to take her complaints to a government agency in September 2013. She was fired shortly thereafter and informed the county had decided to stop funding her position.
Neither Fresno Co nor Liberty AC Services has commented on the lawsuit.
(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)