While this article goes into detail about the suspension and firing of an animal shelter director and a chief animal control officer in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, it’s a tragedy that’s occurring far too frequently in shelters across the U.S.
Jefferson Parish animal shelter director Robin Beaulieu was suspended (for an undetermined amount of time) without pay and chief animal control officer Melinda “Mimi” Olsen was fired after an investigation.
One current employee and one former employee stepped up in December after being harassed when they raised concerns about the animals.
- bullying and harassment of employees who raised concerns
- dogs kicked and dragged to the euthanasia area
- dogs euthanized by unlicensed personnel
- a text message asking shelter employees to break into a property in New Orleans to seize three animals abandoned by the tenant of a rental property.
- rewarding favored employees while selectively enforcing rules to push out others
Employee Jordan Encalade said in a letter to the parish that he has a video from July 2017 that showed helping dogs as they were dragged to the euthanasia room and killed by an unlicensed technician.
Beaulier was hired during former Parish President John Young’s administration in 2011 and earned about $77,175 in 2017. She’s a political appointee who doesn’t have civil service protection while the rest of the employees are considered civil service workers. The two veterinarians are considered contract employees.
Human Resources investigated Beaulieu back in 2012 after a former vet and a volunteer spoke up when an employee was wrongfully demoted. Beaulieu was also accused of not keeping confidential matters private.
The shelter has a 2019 budget of about $6 million and employees around 50 people when at full capacity.
Please note that Robin is under suspension and hasn’t been convicted of a crime. This article from 2012 tells of how the shelter had reduced euthanasia rates since Robin took over.
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