Davidson County, North Carolina, USA: Marsha Williams worked as a director of two shelters in North Carolina: Davidson County Animal Shelter and Guildford County Shelter. Her employer was United Animal Coalition (UAC). UAC is a business that was contracted by Davidson County to run these two shelters. I guess that the commissioners of Davidson County thought they would run the shelters more efficiently and better than they could. They were wrong unfortunately.
It transpired that Marsha Williams and two other colleagues, Dana Williams-King and Marissa Studivent, were cruel to animals and, as I understand it, their cruelty came to light when they left an injured dog in his kennel without treatment during the month of May, which was considered to be deliberately torturing the animal by the Grand Jury. The dog, Nana, had a broken back but was left untreated and was eventually euthanised. This was the beginning of the story.
The ill-treatment of Nana led to further investigations by the Lexington police Department. The investigations mushroomed into further investigations. As a result, Marsha Williams was then dismissed and the contract with UAC terminated. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Animal Welfare Section revoked UAC’s licence to run both the Davidson and Guildford county animal shelters. The quoted reason was a “systematic failure to adequately care for animals [at both shelters]”. I presume that the other two indicated individuals have also been dismissed.
The county has taken over the operation of the shelters and enlarged the workforce. As for Marsha Williams the sacked director, she has also been indicted for (a) keeping a controlled substance at the Davidson County shelter in July (b) obstructing the investigation by directing employees to create false invoices for transferring a controlled substance from one shelter to the other and (c) directing an employee to remove a drug from the Davidson shelter. The drug in question was tramadol which is listed as a pain reliever that can be used by both humans and animals. It was reported by WFMY News2 that she was indicted on the possession of drugs normally used for animals (Schedule 4 Possession).
Elisa Black-Taylor writes on Examiner.com that the Davidson shelter had more than 90 animals dead in their kennels during the months of May and June 2015. She also writes that more than 100 animal cruelty charges were investigated regarding the shelter whilst Marsha Williams was the director and there was a lack of proper record keeping regarding the euthanasia of animals. I understand that further charges are being considered.
This sorry case is probably at the extreme end of bad shelter management. In fact the people who have been charged would appear to be unsuited to the work. Nonetheless, there must be instances of neglectful management at shelters which does not go far enough to be considered to be a crime and indictable as such. It is worrying. We do read a lot about an overzealous approach to euthanasia at shelters when a more enlightened and concerned approach would save many lives.
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