Embattled shelter director Betty Crumley thought it was an April Fool’s joke when she began receiving obscene and threatening phone calls from around the country on April 1.
The calls came after a Facebook page, Exposing Betty Crumley – Information needed here, went viral.
One of the first posts was a link to a YouTube video with photos taken at the animal shelter. In the 6-minute video, Crumley is heard speaking to an employee with concerns about euthanasia practices. Crumley dismissed it as the work of a disgruntled, former employee – others contend there are major issues.
The first several seconds of the video feature an unidentified man telling Crumley, “We have a problem, Betty. The two in the bag that was gone? One of them’s come back to life out there in the freezer.”
“Oh dear,” Crumley said.
Crumley claims the audio has been taken out of context and edited and manipulated to stage the conversation.
The page quickly began sharing other information, updating several times per day with the names and phone numbers of county officials, as well as up to the minute happenings regarding the shelter. It was those updates that prompted the thousands of phone calls to the shelter, the county mayor’s office and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.
Just after deadline on April 10, a page administrator, who goes by the name Savage, contacted the LaFollette Press to explain the origins of the page.
“We are two individuals who have made this our passionate life purpose,” she said.
The duo is not affiliated with PETA or with the Humane Society of the United States.
Savage is based in North Carolina. Her partner, Sue, lives in the UK and is the host of the Ask Sue Radio Show. The two of them maintain the page and have been in close contact with people they describe as “animal warriors,” who report back on what’s happening within the county.
Local advocates, Friends of Campbell County Animals, have no affiliation with the Exposing Betty Crumley page, though the page admins have frequently posted to encourage FCCA workers to continue their mission of sending animals to rescue.
Last Friday, Sue and Savage again contacted the Press in a conference call. They wonder why it took their page’s creation in order for change to be made at the shelter.
“Why did it take people like me and [Savage]?” Sue asked. “It should never have got this far.”
As of April 17, the Facebook page had gained more than 3,200 likes and reached more than 100,000 people. According to the pair, the page had been seen all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Serbia and Argentina.
“We have numbers behind us and [Campbell County] Mayor Baird has nothing but lies and corruption,” Savage said.
Sue and Savage do not condone death threats against Crumley, and urged page followers to speak calmly to county leaders. Sue has also made the shelter, Crumley and Baird the subject of several radio shows. Crumley and Baird are welcome to speak on the radio show, Sue said. The show is broadcast online only.
Another video surfaced on the Facebook page, this time depicting what it allegedly looks like in the freezers where deceased animals are held after euthanasia.
In most of the photos, deep scratch marks and blood are visible.
The county mayor’s office declined to speculate about the videos on Tuesday.