Animal Control employees speak out exclusively to News 12

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, October 5, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Department of Agriculture is investigating cruelty claims at Richmond County's Animal Shelter after News 12's investigation into what's going on at the animal shelter.

The shelter's director says she is confident the investigation will clear the shelter's name. But the man whose allegations started it all says he hopes the accused employee is held accountable.

The State Department of Agriculture in town from Atlanta, after allegations of animal cruelty are lodged against the last person you may expect, the kennel's manager Priscilla Crisler.

Allegations brought forward by her own Co-Worker, Bruce McClure. "I wanted justice for the animal."

He's referring two dogs, both found in their pens injured with no medical care. The chow mix sat for three days after it was hit by a car. It broke it's leg and the skin was scraped off it's tail.

Sweetie was burned in a fire at her owner's home. She sat for 13 full days, and her condition worsened, under Crisler's care.

"If I would charge someone else with animal cruelty based on the evidence I had, I would charge her and everyone else." says McClure of his reasons.

Both dogs were put down.

Shelter Director Diane Downs says the allegations of cruelty aren't true.
"We are a very good shelter out here and we try to run it to the best of our ability given many impossible situations."

Situations like a shrinking budget this year from 2006. A shortfall that leaves no money for vet costs to care for injured animals.

The shelter says that problem combined with an overrun animal population in Richmond County, leaves them no choice but to euthanize healthy animals, even puppies and kittens.

"Unfortunately that is the case. We don't set out to euthanize animals. We don't set out to intentionally kill animals. We are not murderers." explains Downs.

Downs says the investigation could take weeks, but she hopes it will help calm the negative attention growing against the shelter and it's staff.

But, McClure says it's all about what's right under the law. "Animal control and employees of animal control, including myself are not above the law and free to commit cruelty to an animal just because of our positions."

Since News 12 began our exclusive investigation, other allegations have surfaced. The shelter's part time veterinarian and pet owners now accusing the shelter of euthanizing animals illegally.

Downs and her staff say they are looking into the allegations.

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  • by Judy Location: Augusta on Oct 14, 2007 at 06:50 PM
    I agree with "appalled from Augusta." Unfounded accusations are wrong. That is why the evidence of the cruelty by Ms. Crisler should be heard by a judge. People writing about it isn't enough. She needs to be removed from her position or at least penalized.
  • by appalled Location: augusta on Oct 12, 2007 at 09:43 AM
    I suspect the Judy, the beth and the jane defending Ms. Crisler are all one in the same person. I would dare anyone of those three to come forward in person on tv and make the same comments. You are cowards and most likely are cruel to your animals and children. You would most certainly be sued by Mcclure and lose everything you have for making those comments like ryan B so you are cowards hiding behind Anonymity This man deserves a large settlement from you three poor excuses for humans trying to protect an animal abuser.
  • by Gloria on Oct 11, 2007 at 04:53 AM
    I would like for someone to explain to me why they so quickly put down some immediately and then allow injured animals to languish in pain for days. If you are evidently not going to seek vet care, euth. the animals. No excuse can justify this. Every person who walked by and saw these animals and did nothing needs to rethink this occupation. NO Excuse.
  • by Judy Location: Augusta on Oct 10, 2007 at 05:21 AM
    There is enough evidence to charge Ms. Crisler with cruelty. Let a judge decide, not the politicians.
  • by Judy Location: Augusta on Oct 10, 2007 at 03:10 AM
    To stay on track, the question is whether kennel manager Priscilla Crisler is guilty of cruelty. The answer is yes. It is Bruce McClure's job to investigate cruelty. Read his letter. He is qualified and has the experience. He had proof and asked permission to do the right thing. The City just didn't want to take any action against an employee. I applaud those that have come forward with the truth and have risked their own careers and employment to protect the animals of Richmond County.
  • by Kim Location: Evans,Ga on Oct 9, 2007 at 05:06 PM
    How does Judy know how much Mr. McClure makes a year? Also how can she say that all he does is play on the computer? Question for Judy- Are you related to Ms. Crissler,or just one of her friends that is trying to get the focus off of Ms. Crissler? Have you ever heard the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words ! Who cares how much Mr. McClure makes. Look at the pics again of these helpless animals. They were not under the care of Mr. McClure.
  • by Judy Location: Evans on Oct 9, 2007 at 06:57 AM
    You know it's really funny that this man would be spouting off things like "what's right under the law" - what about the things that he did. He has been on desk duty for almost 2 years. He is a waste of tax-payers' money. He's sitting there making around $40,000 a year to play on the computer and make up stories about employees. What about that INJUSTICE? Someone really needs to look into this man.
  • by Judy Location: Atlanta on Oct 9, 2007 at 05:25 AM
    Everyone should hold themselves accountable, including Mr. McClure. Although his statements in the article are limited, his email has unsubstantiated, untrue and slanderous allegations. I am certainly glad the shelter policies are being scrutinized, but we should also look into the practices of all shelter employees. As a representative of the shelter, Mr. McClure should be accountible of his actions including publishing false allegations. This story should only focus on the animals and their rights.... Mr. McClure has gone too far. The shelter needs help, not more controversy.
  • by Beth Location: Augusta on Oct 9, 2007 at 04:53 AM
    WOW, have you forgotten who this man is? He is the one that was FIRED from this shelter for falsifing documents, stealing a dog, breeding her and NEGLECTING to treat her for heartworms. The ONLY reason this man was re-hired was on a techincality; because the Director, at the time, had "previously counseled him" the termnination decision was overthrown. This is also the man that has been on "desk duty" at that shelter for almost 2 years pending a violent assault charge on a woman. Now, you tell me who thinks this man is of reputable character to be acusing anyone of anything. Reputation versus reputation you have to give Miss Crisler the benefit of the doubt.
  • by Lisa Location: SC on Oct 9, 2007 at 04:50 AM
    I agree to a point with RCAC employees in that they do have to euthanize. If you get 50 dogs in the door per day and you adopt out only 20 per week, there isn't any place to put them. The major responsibility lies in the public. It is important to spay and neuter your animals. There are low cost clinics available regardless of income -$45-$70. If you can't afford that, you can't afford to have a pet. If a stray comes in your yard and you decide to keep it, don't be surprised if there is an unexpected litter. Dogs and cats will find a way to reproduce. It is in their nature. For every human born in America, there are 7 kittens and puppies born. Appx 15 million are killed througout shelters in our country due to overpopulation. Viewing the miracle of birth is no reason to allow your animal to breed. Go to the shelter and watch the miracle of death instead. The only thing I disagree with is that if animals come in badly hurt, they should be tended to medically or euthanized.
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