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At Monday’s workshop, county resident Jim Slusher said the closure of the Adrion W. Baird Animal Shelter April 11 has left stray animals without help.
“There’s no one to call,” Slusher said. “In my neighborhood alone, I’ve counted three dead cats, and three stray dogs have been dropped on us.”
Two of the dogs starved to death, but one was taken in by Slusher’s neighbor, he said.
Slusher referenced Noah’s ark, and said people are responsible to take care of animals.
“Are we giving them protection by closing (the shelter)?” he said.
Slusher was describing an image of Adrion W. Baird in heaven with tears in his eyes when Commissioner Bobby White interrupted.
“I don’t want to hear it,” White said. “You’re jumping on something we don’t have authority over.”
While the county commission funds the shelter, the director and mayor operate it, White said.
“The commission does not have involvement in the day to day operations of the shelter,” County Attorney Joe Coker said. “They fund it.”
Commissioner Tom Hatmaker asked how many people from the animal shelter are still being paid.
Three of the employees are on paid administrative leave.
“If we’re paying them, send them back to work,” he said.
County Mayor William Baird pointed out their lives had been threatened.
“I don’t think we need to up and stop all of a sudden,” Hatmaker said.
Hatmaker asked if the employees wanted to go back to work.
Baird said they did.
However, the center will only reopen after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s examination is complete, he said.
Allegations made against the animal shelter on the Internet caused Campbell County’s reputation to suffer, Slusher said.
A person in Campbell County with a personal vendetta against an employee at the shelter started the controversy, Baird said.
“None of these accusations have been proven at all,” he said.
Allegations on a Facebook page entitled “Exposing Betty Crumbley” include not using the proper amount of euthanasia medicine and not making reasonable efforts to adopt out animals. Vortech Pharmaceuticals—manufacturer of Fatalplus, a euthanasia medicine—said Adrion Baird Animal Shelter Director Betty Crumbley was using as little as a third the amount of Fatalplus needed to euthanize animals.
Commissioner Johnny Bruce asked if there would be consequences for the people making the accusations if they were proven false.
Coker said the District Attorney’s office would decide whether to pursue recourse against whistle blowers if the claims are false.