County Animal Shelter Issues —Joe Pritchard @ LCC Work Session 23 May 2011

In his County Manager’s report at the work session this morning, Joe Pritchard reported on:
Issues that I think you’ve heard about… animal shelter.
Presumably the issues reported by David Rodock in the 15 May 2011 Valdosta Daily Times Animal shelter probed Use of drugs investigated; employees speak out and by Gabrielle Sarann for WCTV on 19 May 2011 Lowndes County Animal Shelter Probed: The Georgia Department of Agriculture is keeping an eye on an area animal shelter and has cited it for several violations
“I’ve seen a lot of the animals come in the shelter and not got vet care and sometimes that comes in the form of euthanasia,” says Susan Leavens, an animal control officer for Lowndes County.

This led several Lowndes County Animal Shelter employees to file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

It launched an investigation citing the facility for not providing humane care.

Joe Pritchard continued in his report:

August of 2010 the Department of Agriculture called me and asked for a meeting about issues of concern. They expressed those issues centered around maintenance of records … what was classified as humane treatment.
Mr. Pritchard referred to “specific castration of a pot-bellied pig”. He didn’t say whether he considered that inhumane treatment; he merely discussed it after referring to things “classified as humane treatment”.

He continued:

There was also some concern as far as maintenance of the security of drugs out and kept in files.
He said he conducted a personal interview with some staff.
We were not able to substantiate … accusations other than that … castration of pig.
What about this from WCTV:
And in routine inspections over the last year, several euthanasia violations were written-up.

“It did not matter how you euthanized or what numbers you used, it didn’t matter if it was a 30lb dog and you used 6 cc’s,” says Leavens. “It need to be 60 pound dog.”

Or this:
The Department of Agriculture says the Lowndes County Animal Shelter failed to provide care to an emaciated bulldog picked up in September.

The report says its gums were white and it couldn’t stand on its own.

Susan Leavens says she did her best to care for the dog, but it took two days for the director, Linda Patelski, to have the dog euthanized.

“Three or four times that day I’d spoken to her about that particular dog,” says Leavens. “On each instance, she was doing something else. The dog was never seen by a vet that day.”

This morning Joe Pritchard said they examined the character of those testifying for the complaints and he said they found biases.

That could explain what WCTV quoted him as saying:

Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard says, “I don’t believe through our investigation, nor through any info we received from the Department of Ag, are able to indicate any malicious intent.”

Perhaps if he’d spent more time investigating the content of the accusations rather than investigating the whistleblowers, he might have found out more.

Here’s the video. He went on for more than five minutes, all in the same monotone, about castrations, euthanasia, misplaced drugs, and a verbal reprimand.

County Animal Shelter Issues —Joe Pritchard @ LCC Work Session 23 May 2011:
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 23 May 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Want to know more? Want your voice heard about treatment of animals?

Come to the County Commission meeting on Tuesday 24 May 2011 before 5:30PM and sign up to be heard during the Citizens section at the end of the meeting.

Seems that Mr. Pritchard either knew what was going on or he should have: he’s the County Manager, after all.

-jsq and Gretchen

1 thought on “County Animal Shelter Issues —Joe Pritchard @ LCC Work Session 23 May 2011

  1. Jane Osborn

    Abuse of an animal is a criminal offense. The GA Dept. of Agriculture is a regulatory agency able only to issue fines, not pursue criminal investigations. Why are these reports not on the desk of the sheriff of Lowndes County for criminal investigation? Dismissing the allegations because the people whose testimony was taken might be biased does no service to the current or future animals that will pass through the shelter.

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