In January of last year, HSUS issued a press release announcing its “top ten emergency placement partners”. Number one on the list was the Guilford Co Animal Shelter in NC, run by the United Animal Coalition. The press release reads, in part:
Although every placement partner is deeply valued, these ten groups went above and beyond to help animals rescued from large-scale crisis situations. Throughout the year, they showed tireless enthusiasm and dedication to helping animals.
This wasn’t the first time HSUS offered special recognition for the Guilford Co pound. In February 2012, HSUS also named the facility on its top ten emergency placement partners list and issued a press release which reads, in part:
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, visited the Guilford County Animal Shelter Thursday to tour the facility and meet with staff members.
“Guilford County Animal Shelter has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to come to the aid of animals in need,” said Michelle Cascio, manager of the Emergency Placement Program for The HSUS.
There was a backlash among animal advocates as the United Animal Coalition was widely known for its secrecy and its reputation as an abusive killing hole. Apparently Wayne Pacelle didn’t notice anything amiss during his tour or if he did, didn’t contact authorities about it.
This week, a grand jury indicted Marsha Williams, the director of the United Animal Coalition along with two employees, one of whom is the director’s daughter. The charges stem from alleged illegal activities at both the Guilford Co pound and the Davidson Co pound, which was also run by United Animal Coalition. A grand jury found that all three women “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did cause to be maliciously tortured an animal, an injured dog named Nana[.]”
In addition to the animal cruelty charge, Williams was indicted on several other offenses:
The indictment also alleges Williams possessed more than 100 tablets of Tramadol and kept tablets at the Davidson County Animal Shelter. The indictment further alleges Williams hindered a federal drug investigation by ordering workers to remove controlled substances from the shelter and creating false invoices showing the transfer of controlled substances from one shelter to the other.
The horrifying and long-standing allegations of widespread animal suffering, needless killing and rampant fraud perpetrated by United Animal Coalition have finally been moved into the judicial sphere. It’s a shame Wayne Pacelle and HSUS spent so much time praising the work of these alleged animal torturers instead of blowing the whistle on them years ago. It’s staggering to think of how many animals could have been saved, including Nana.
(Thanks Lisa for posting this link in the Open Thread.)