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Animal shelter inquiry continues

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By Beth Braden

An investigation into the Adrion W. Baird Animal Center continues.
“Agents don’t work cases on a deadline so whenever all the facts are gathered the investigation will be considered complete,” Kristin Helm, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation public information officer, said in an e-mail.
Last Tuesday, the county mayor’s office, along with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office asked the TBI to look into allegations about shelter director Betty Crumley.
Accusations included improper euthanasia techniques and refusal to work with rescue.
The shelter has been closed since April 11, and will remain closed through the TBI investigation. Campbell County Deputy Mayor David Young did not speculate on whether or not Crumley will return to her position as shelter director.
Another agency – the Tennessee Department of Health – is also investigating. On April 9, investigator Patricia Daugherty was at the shelter to speak with Crumley and the other employees.
Young expected to hear back from the department of health this week.
Beyond shuttering the shelter, the mayor’s office also deleted the shelter’s Facebook page.
“We thought it would be a good time to get it cleaned off,” Young said. “Trying to make sure that when it opens back up, the webpage is in a professional manner.”
While the shelter is closed, local rescue group Friends of Campbell County Animals is working to help residents find homes for unwanted animals.

Timeline of shelter events
2008 – Betty Crumley begins working at the shelter
August 2012 – An informal citizens group began sponsoring animals at the shelter and trying to find them homes
October 2012 – Local rescue group FCCA begins organizing to achieve nonprofit status to begin pulling animals from the shelter. Allegations surrounding the shelter surfaced at this time.
January  - FCCA gains nonprofit status
Feb. 11 – Terry Basista is told by Crumley there is no heating installed at the shelter and begins to question other accusations about the shelter
April 1 – Facebook page “Exposing Betty Crumley – More Info Needed Here” appears. Site administrators, who refer to themselves as Sue and Savage, begin revealing information they say was supplied by their network of “animal warriors.”
April 1 – The first YouTube video appears, dismissed by Crumley as the work of a former disgruntled employee. The video alleges improper euthanization practices
April 1 – Adrion Baird Animal Center and many other county offices begin receiving phone calls about the animal shelter. Some callers threaten Crumley’s life.
April 9 – Tennessee Department of Health Investigator Patricia Daugherty arrives at the animal shelter to investigate. She declined to speak with the Press, referring all questions to the Nashville office
April 10 – Crumley and Baird are seen speaking at Crumley’s vehicle in the parking lot outside the county mayor’s office. When the Press approached, Crumley left.
April 11 – Crumley orders employees Brenda Watkins and Debbie McGhee to turn their keys in. A third caretaker turned hers in at the county mayor’s office later.
April 11 – Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley pulls all animals from the shelter. Baird confirms the shelter is closed pending an investigation by the department of health
April 12 – A second YouTube video showing dogs in freezers with gouges and blood on the freezer walls appears
April 16 – CCSD, DAG and the county mayor’s office call for a TBI investigation
April 16 – Admins of the exposing Betty Crumley page begin encouraging anyone with information to deal only with the TBI and quit speaking with the mayor’s office