Ex-shelter employee files lawsuit under the Georgia Whistleblower Protection Act

This story began back in 2017 when a month-long investigation was conducted at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, Georgia following allegations of wrongful euthanizations and fudged statistics. The probe led to the firing of employee Delana Funderburk in June. Click here for Michael’s article on PoC.

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Now the ex-shelter employee has filed a lawsuit last week in Gwinnett County Superior Court. In what’s called a whistleblower suit under the Georgia Whistleblower Protection Act, Funderburk has filed against Gwinnett County saying she was fired because she spoke out against Gwinnett County Police Department, who oversaw shelter operations at that time.

Funderbunk and her attorney Mike Puglise filed an 11-page document stating she was fired for speaking up about animal neglect and that staff didn’t do all they could to save the animals in the care of the facility.

According to an article by AJC.com, former Gwinnett County shelter manager Curt Harrell was fined late last year for killing a court-protected dog. Gwinnett County Community Services Department now oversees the shelter since Harrell left his position in October 2017.

The county has declined to comment since this is an active litigation.

“Funderburk’s claims were refuted, however, in the same internal investigation that county officials say led to her firing. The months-long investigation found no wrongdoing or violation of policy at the shelter and argued that its euthanization numbers, which have dramatically declined in recent years, were legitimate,” AJC reported.

The investigation also claims Funderburk lied to organize a protest at a meeting with the Board of Commissioners and went so far as to organize a protest while the shelter director and assistant manager were out of town. She was allegedly fired for intentionally providing false information and failing to support the police department over the shelter.

A jury trial and unspecified compensation have been requested in the lawsuit.

If anyone following this case has additional information, please post it in the comments section following this article.

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