Only on 12: PETA wants criminal investigation into animal shelter employee

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, October 11, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.-- A national animal rights organization is now stepping in asking for a criminal investigation into what's going on at the Richmond County Animal Shelter.

Today PETA emailed Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

PETA tells News 12 it's offices have been bombarded with phone calls and emails from viewers. Now, the national office is calling for a criminal investigation and they hope the mayor will help.

Its a story of alleged abuse with a long paper trail, but the latest group to weigh in brings national attention to the case.

"The photos were heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking." says Teresa Chagrin who has worked with PETA for twenty years. She says the organization wants to get to the heart of the matter and find out if shelter manager Priscila Crisler committed a crime.

"We've gotten numerous phone calls and emails from area citizens who are very distressed." says Chagrin.

They are distressed over what happened to these two dogs while they were under Crisler's care at the shelter.

The chow mix was hit by a car. It broke it's leg and it's tail was scraped off. It received no medical attention for \three days.

Sweetie was burned in a house fire. She sat for thirteen full days with no treatment, not even pain medication, and her condition only got worse under Crisler's care.

Chagrin, "If the allegations are true, if the animals were left in that situation without any care, we feel that would violate the state statute against animal cruelty."

PETA hopes their letter to Mayor Copenhaver "vigorously urging" a "criminal investigation" will make a difference.

"It's very important that a complete investigation be undertaken. And I think this is a great opportunity to see some change, some real change for animals in your community."

In their letter, PETA also says the shelter appears to be violating national policies outlined by the Humane Society of the United States.
Augusta's shelter charges pet owners a disposal fee for unwanted animals that are sick or injured. It's a 50 dollar fee to cover the costs of putting the animal down. PETA says it's a dangerous policy that keeps people from bringing pets to the shelter, and in some cases causing the animal to suffer even more.

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  • by staci Location: augusta on Oct 25, 2007 at 09:17 AM
    i cannot believe augusta-richmond co. would allow this to continue.those employees need to be charged w/animal crulety.i know 4 a fact there was a dog-catcher that was showing pics.of dogs (that had homes)& offering rewards for catch them.(im assuming b/c they didnt have many dogs in good health to adopt out)...its a shame. Deke your a GOOD mayor.!!! ..DO SOMTHING!!!!!! P.E.T.A. DO SOMETHING...many ppl are behind u in augusta.....
  • by Homerdoah! on Oct 18, 2007 at 07:22 AM
    Jane, good idea but we really only need county commissioners to revise the county ordinace 4-1-72 required sterilization. One paragraph added that states " all owners of cats and dogs must sterilize their animal prior to sexual maturity" only exceptions would be for those persons or businesses liscensed by the department of agriculture as breeders or dealers. This would stop a lot of the back yard breeding because those person would not be able to get dept of ag lic.
  • by jane Location: augusta on Oct 17, 2007 at 10:01 AM
    To David. How do you propose we have a no-kill shelter when Animal Services had to euthanize over 10,000 animals last year. Do you know what the average life span is for a dog or a cat? What happens to the other animals once the no-kill shelter is full? There are things far worse than being euthanized in a humane manner. Push for legislation to force folks to spay and neuter their animals. That is where the real problem lies.
  • by Judy Location: Augusta on Oct 12, 2007 at 12:52 PM
    Thank you to everyone for speaking out on this matter. Obviously, we are going to have to continue to ask for action. This matter does not need investigation. Ms Crisler needs to be charged and a judge should decide if it was cruelty. These animals were under Ms. Crisler's care. She was directly responsible for their suffering. A policy needs to be in place to make sure this doesn't happen again. Serious consideration must be given as it Ms. Downs' ability to carry out this new policy. News 12 - please continue to ask what is being done. Animal lovers - please continue to put pressure on the Mayor, the Commissioners, on anyone that gets elected to take some action.
  • by David Location: Augusta on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:49 AM
    I agree with bj! PETA is a great organization and hopefully will shine a full spotlight on the way Augusta treats animals. To all citizens I say keep up the pressure on the politicians to do something positive and compassionate for a change. We need a no kill shelter!
  • by Many Questions on Oct 12, 2007 at 10:17 AM
    James I am so sorry for your loss.Your story brought tears to my eyes.Again I am so sorry. I certainly hope that our Mayor can do something to help with these skeletons that appear to be rapidly jumping out of the closet. Perhaps now that the door is opened there can be attempts made to alleviate these situations. How long will this subject be a game of musical chairs? When will the taxpayers of Richmond County see positive steps made to improve the well being of the animals that are taken to this establishment of horror? How many more pets have to endure the suffering to solve this? When will this nightmare end for so many that can only speak with their eyes? Each one of us needs to put ourselves in the most horrible place that we have been in our lives, this would be only a fraction of the feelings of these animals have suffered though. Although they have no voice, they have a heart, and more so they can feel. I am sure that they also had many questions that were unanswered.
  • by bj Location: 30820 on Oct 12, 2007 at 03:06 AM
    HooRay for PETA!!!!! Non careing animal shelter officials will finally be required to ans. questions. Come on D K, get your part of this show on the road. You have shown your compassion over and over. Continue to march. THANK YOU Chanel 12 for your part in bringing this info. out .
  • by James Location: Augusta on Oct 12, 2007 at 02:43 AM
    I had a dog that was injured on a Friday evening.You are not allowed to look or visit or treat your dog `til Tuesday afternoon. I got my dog transferred to a vet on Monday. The vet took the day off. When my dog saw the vet on Tues. the vet decided the dog was with a broken pelvis and did nothing but call me and say the dog needed to go to Ga. University for surgery and that it would be $2500. I got the money together and by now it`s Thursday, a week after the dog was hit by a car with no treatment. When i told the vet that I had the money , that price was just to get the dog on the operating table. I couldn`t afford any more and finally told the vet to put her down. The dog was a 6 mo. old White Shepherd and had just been spayed. The dog was traumitized to the extent that she would have been worthless as a dog, no control over body functions or tail wagging. It still cost me $285 to put her out of her misery...
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