I’m just one person. What can I do?

Jeremiah Robertson did one thing.  He saw cruelty at the McCracken Co Humane Society where he worked and he reported it.  When his supervisors ignored him, he documented the cruelty and took his evidence to the sheriff’s office.

As a result of his efforts, the certified euthanasia technician who allegedly violated KY state law by heartsticking some 8000 fully conscious pets is now facing criminal charges.  And the director – who ignored Mr. Robertson’s pleas for the shelter’s pets and who banned cell phones within the pound after learning Mr. Robertson had obtained his evidence via his cell phone – is quitting.  Director Shirley Grimes released a statement which reads, in part:

I wish to announce publicly my intention to resign as the Director of the McCracken County Humane Society effective at the next Humane Society board meeting which will be held in early December . I have been the director for 34 years and have poured my heart and soul into caring for these animals.  I realize it is my time to step aside and allow new leadership and ideas into the way the humane society is operated.

In addition, the county ACOs will no longer take pets to the McCracken Co HS:

After hearing the results of the Sheriff’s Department investigation Wednesday, the county sprang into action.

[...]

Animal control officers will no longer drop off animals at the McCracken County Humane Society.

The county is temporarily housing pets at the Road Department and planning to open its own shelter in the next couple of weeks.

Mr. Robertson is utilizing his federal protections as a whistleblower in order to speak to the media:

He said shelter director Shirley Grimes knew what was going on because she is the treasurer and in charge of the money.

“She knew that these medicines weren’t being bought,” he said of sedation medicine to put animals down humanely.

Investigators said that medication would have cost $1,000 a year.

Robertson said there is nothing humane about what happens at the McCracken County Humane Society. But he is staying, hoping he can make things better.

[...]

He said he does not regret his actions.

Regret?  Aw hell no!  Mr. Robertson, you are a hero.  If not for your actions, the pets at the McCracken Co HS would still be suffering unspeakably cruel deaths.  Thank you for speaking up and for not taking “no” for an answer.  I wish you all the best in your efforts to turn things around at your shelter.  May I suggest a proven model for success?  Please let us know if we can help you.

 

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21 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  November 21, 2011

    Mr. Robertson was very brave and has a constitution of iron to do what he did. But he was right – nothing was going to change until one man stands up and says, “No more.”

    How that shelter director can live with herself is completely beyond me. How that so-called euthanasia tech can manage to eat a meal without gagging on his own evil, I do not understand.

    Reply
  2. Nelson's Mama

     /  November 21, 2011

    As a Kentucky girl and a native of that area; this is a double edged sword. I’m so proud of the actions of Mr. Robertson, the local citizens, volunteers, road department and officials who are making a difference.

    On the other hand. Many, many people were aware of this situation and have been looking the other way for way too many years and that’s inexcusable. It breaks my heart.

    Reply
  3. Arlene

     /  November 21, 2011

    One voice changed the lives of countless animals. One person who knew what was going on was so so wrong and spoke up. Evil was stopped because just one person did not look the other way and say there is nothing to be done. One person. That’s all it took. One person to speak until he was heard. Thank you Mr. Robertson.

    Reply
  4. yeah mr. robinson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and bravo mccracken county for recognizing a better route and taking it.

    Reply
  5. Crystal Siegel

     /  November 21, 2011

    God bless you, Mr. Robertson. You are a hero in my eyes!

    Way to go, McCracken County. Maybe another county can start their path on the no-kill route.

    Reply
  6. Bea

     /  November 21, 2011

    MORE PEOPLE NEED TO SPEAK UP ABOUT THESE AWFUL SHELTERS. CONGRATS MR ROBINSON FOR SPEAKING UP.

    Reply
  7. I think we also need to give a hand to the sheriff’s office too because unlike some other sheriff’s offices that get this kind of news and do nothing this sheriff’s office did help. But I don’t understand why the director and euthanasia technician are not facing jail time.

    Reply
  8. Mel

     /  November 21, 2011

    I just read this article, not sure if you guys have seen it or not. I can’t believe Grimes is asking people to feel sorry for her because she had to work with a person like Robertson that would record everything. As for the non-sedated heartsticking, Ms Grimes didn’t know dem waz da rulez people! She’s an innocent victim in this whole mess. Poor luv!

    http://paducahsun.com/bookmark/16500678

    I think this sort of problem is common in many different workplaces, not just those that are animal related. It’s amazing how one scumbag in charge can cause the scum to filter all the way through and affect all employees and practices. Most people who need their jobs just keep their mouths shut and go with the flow. Unfortunately in the Memphis case the scumbag is the Mayor himself and the shit just flows on through. I feel so sorry for the decent people working at MAS (we know there are some, we’ve seen them in the webcams). I hope Mr Robertson isn’t the only one who has the guts to document what he sees.

    Reply
  9. KateH

     /  November 21, 2011

    I am amazed (not really) at what Grimes said in that article. In reference to Mr. Robertson, she has the effing gall to say that she was surprised that Mr. Johnson was the one who documented her shitty management of employees who have a screw loose (how else to explain their heartsticking so many animals and not saying anything against it?), and specifically said, “Can you imagine working with someone like that?” Grimes said. “Could you imagine having to talk to one of your employees, constantly worrying about if you were being taped? It’s horrible.”

    No, bitch, what’s horrible is that you don’t think you did anything wrong. I know it won’t happen, but I truly wish she would end up in prison, with people watching her all the time.

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  November 21, 2011

      Did she actually say that? Unbelievable. She thinks HE’S the bad guy here because he recorded their actions. Talk about your intellectual disconnect…

      Reply
      • Nelson's Mama

         /  November 21, 2011

        She apparently won’t release the animals they still have…

        Occupy McCracken County “Humane” Society
        Here’s what we learned today: We can’t get the other animals out of the pit because the law says they are owned by Shirley and Company. We can’t go adopt them all because we must be careful not to contaminate the new shelter with any potential disease. The only thing we can do right now is for people to go adopt them for $25 and then immediately take them to the vet and make sure they are healthy. If they are healthy, then we can take them. Apparently, the McCracken County “Humane” Society thinks it is going to continue to do business as usual. Not if I can help it.

  10. Lorraine Martinez

     /  November 21, 2011

    As far as I’m concerned, Jeremiah Robinson is the most courageous person I’ve heard about in a very long time. I’m sure he needs his job as much as anyone, these days, and probably has a family, and yet he took the risk of losing his job (and no telling what other possible repercussions) in order to do the right thing! Wow–incredible person!

    But what’s really scary is the thought that now the evil creature who tortured all of those pets (and I dare anyone to say that he didn’t enjoy it–8000 heart-sticks without a complaint?) will no longer be busy at work every day. My thoughts turn to all of the well-documented studies of how child abusers and serial killers usually start out torturing animals….

    I’m glad I don’t live in that area!

    Reply
  11. I m very happy something was done in this case and I am proud of Mr Robertson ‘s efforts and that his efforts were taken seriously. However, as a whistleblower myself it is absolutely devastating to have all the evidence and nothing is done. I want to believe the one person thing but in my case it didnt work. I hope to see more cases like this one instead.

    Reply
    • Going to the authorities didn’t work in your case Tonya but you did not give up and still managed to get your message out there.

      Reply
  12. Thank you Mel for the link. Here are a few significant snippets:

    Grimes and the McCracken County Humane Society board maintain that they had no idea that these practices were going on in their center. Grimes does say that she was not aware that it was the law that animals needed to be sedated when undergoing heart-stick euthanasia.

    And regarding an administrator who was reportedly killing pets without certification:

    Grimes said that her organization was made aware that Hall was euthanizing cats without a license and said that the shelter will not fire or discipline her.

    Regarding Mr. Robertson, whom the director allegedly referred to as a “sissy” when he asked for safety gear and who ultimately obtained evidence against her pound:

    “Can you imagine working with someone like that?” Grimes said. “Could you imagine having to talk to one of your employees, constantly worrying about if you were being taped? It’s horrible.”

    Yeah, it’s horrible.

    Reply
    • Mel

       /  November 21, 2011

      No worries. This woman is obviously not the brightest bulb in the box. Such a shame it isn’t legal to heart-stick humans for being deadbeat morons.

      Reply
  13. Hooray for Mr. Robertson! I wish there were more people like him! It’s always about money! Damn scumbags. I hope they get prosecuted!

    Reply
  14. Lorie Erskine

     /  December 4, 2011

    This isn’t an isolated incident, heart stick is used at hundreds of “Shelters” including across the U.S including large ones here in Metro Atlanta.

    Why would an Animal Control spend double the drug cost and double the man hours and work load to completely sedate an animal before death by heartstick as opposed to more humane method of a one time venipuncture lethal injection. They don’t.

    By doing heartstick they can utilize every day employees, who can cheaply and quickly become “certified euthanasia techs” thanks to the Department of Agriculture, to kill animals and save the cost of paying more labor costs to utilize higher paid vets or vet technicians that are trained in venipuncture.

    Seven every day employees were recently trained and certified in a very short period of time at a large Metro Atlanta Animal Control recently to “perform euthanasia” due to this last summers extremely high intake of thousands of animals.

    As a former Vet Tech , there is no way you can train someone to perform skilled venipuncture in a few days time or to perform it humanely and accurately.

    Even with the cheaper heartstick method, someone performing it infrequently or for the first hundred times, would be a novice and would cause the animal needless suffering.

    Many of these larger Animal Controls have Vets and Vet Technicians on staff and they are on staff at this particular Animal Control but the County doesn’t waste money by having them perform the thousands of euthanasias but is instead using the cheaper labor costs of employees that most likely have no prior experience with animals, let alone veterinary experience, before being a low paid County Animal Control employee.

    If an Animal Control is heartstick, then most are not sedating the animal prior, why would they spend the money for double the drugs and labor cost used to sedate an animal first.

    Check your local Animal Control and ask what method of euthanasia they utilize and who performs it.
    Call your Department of Agriculture and ask what is involved in the training requirements to be a certified euthanasia technician.
    The more people become aware of this and ask questions and then complain to their respective County.
    government officials, they quicker this will one day stop.

    It is all about money and how to quickly and cheaply “dispose” of the thousands of animals dumped at their door each year.

    This man was just caught in the spotlight, there are thousands more like him, hidden from the public,,in back rooms of Animal Controls in the U.S.

    Reply
  15. erin

     /  December 8, 2011

    Thank you Mr Robertson for speaking for the voiceless and being the person to help the fur angels to get the last word! A hero…I should say you very much are!

    Reply

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