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SHUTTERED SHELTER TO REOPEN UNDER NEW DIRECTOR

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By Beth Braden

JACKSBORO—A new director will be at the helm of operations at the county’s Adrion W. Baird Animal Center.  
The shelter has been closed since April 11 when County Mayor William Baird asked the TBI to investigate alleged misdeeds by former director Betty Crumley.
Michael Aiken will oversee the shelter’s direction.
“He’s lived here in Campbell County for a number of years. He’s been our juvenile officer in sessions court, handled the truancy petitions and that sort of thing. He does teach the DUI school here in the county,” Baird said.
Aiken does not have any apparent experience with animal control.
Animal Control Officer Otis Poore will be the only employee returning to employment at the shelter. Crumley tendered her resignation July 25.
Crumley’s brief letter to Baird said it is in the best interest of the county and the shelter if she resigns.
“I believe that would allow the shelter to re-open [sic] as quickly as possible under new supervision….I will continue to cooperate and help in any investigation of the facility and its staff,” part of the letter said.
Baird terminated the three other employees — including initial whistleblower Brenda Watkins. 
“Just my preference,” was all the mayor said on his determination to fire the employees. “He’s [Otis] a certified animal control officer. They were just part-time help.”
Previously, Baird said the shelter would open pending the outcome of the TBI investigation, though the investigation is still ongoing.
In the meantime, inmates from the jail are cleaning the facility and getting it ready to house animals. The center is reportedly taking phone calls and should reopen in the next week or so, the mayor said.
Calls to Aiken were not immediately returned.