As posted yesterday, the secretive non-profit United Animal Coalition has had its registrations to run the Guilford Co and Davidson Co pounds revoked by the state of North Carolina. The county editor for the Rhino Times, a paper in Guilford Co, reports that the allegations made by the state “are only the tip of the iceberg” regarding wrongdoing by UAC.
Citing a source who was in attendance at a secret meeting on July 27 held at the workplace of UAC president Carolyn Cudd, the Rhino reports that Cudd explained to the group how the investigation began:
On Tuesday, May 19, a severely injured dog that was paralyzed from the shoulders down and appeared to have a broken back was brought into the Davidson County shelter.
The next day, a shelter official assured a Davidson County sheriff’s deputy that the dog would be euthanized by the end of that day. On Thursday, May 21, a deputy discovered the paralyzed dog still alive with maggots on its body and on the floor of the cage.
On Friday, May 22, a worker at the Davidson County shelter noticed a “bloody blowout” from the dog’s rear and took pictures of the animal’s plight and sent the pictures to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. The crippled animal was finally put to death later that day.
That led authorities to the investigation that expanded to Guilford County.
A picture of the dog with the broken back at the Davidson County shelter was also passed around at that time.
After the meeting attendees, including UAC’s former president, a current board member as well as county reps from both Guilford and Davidson, got a look at the maggot infested dog whose rear exploded while he lay paralyzed in UAC’s care, there was a discussion on whether UAC should suspend and/or hire a lawyer for Marsha Williams, the executive director of both shelters. Because yeah, you know, not sure.
A Guilford Co pound volunteer told the Rhino that Davidson Co, the more recent contract awarded to UAC, was under greater scrutiny than Guilford Co. In an effort to make Davidson’s numbers look good quickly, UAC set up a racket whereby dogs from the Davidson pound were sent to Guilford for killing and counted as adoptions on their way out of Davidson. Hey, they went out the front door, technically. I guess they were “adopted” by Fatal Plus at Guilford.
The vol also says UAC specifically directed employees to neglect suffering animals so that they would eventually die in their cages in order to manipulate the number of animals killed. Hey, they weren’t “euthanized”, they just happened to be called to the Rainbow Bridge, la la la.
In addition, the volunteer told the paper the Davidson Co pound had no one licensed to kill animals for some period of time, donations were not being used for the stated purpose, the financial numbers being given to the county were false, and people were afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation by UAC.
Other allegations made in the piece:
- Williams, who was paid more than $92,000 a year, hired several family members to work under her at the Guilford facility.
- Controlled substances were not tracked and recorded as required by law.
- Cats weren’t given sufficient quantities of food.
- Animals were put in cages together without consideration of compatibility resulting in fights and food deprivation for weaker animals.
- Bleach was poured directly into dog runs each day without rinsing causing dogs’ feet to burn.
- Although severely injured and ill animals were often left to suffer, pets with minor ailments were regularly killed by UAC (I assume because they would take too long to die in their cages).
And of course, as is all too often the case in these situations, follow the money:
Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Col. Randy Powers said this week that the Sheriff’s Department is looking into multiple issues including concerns of financial fraud. Powers also said the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has some computer forensics specialists who were working with Davidson County in its investigation as well.
Several of the UAC board members have recently resigned and replacements have reportedly been made but the president won’t name them. I’m guessing the UAC board, along with the officials in Davidson and Guilford counties, will claim they had no idea about the killing schemes, the animals forced to suffer for the sake of deceptive reports, the financial fraud and all the rest. Did they have some obligation to make themselves aware of at least the surface appearance of things at the pounds? Should someone/anyone who was writing checks to UAC have poked their head in the door at some point and asked why dozens of animals were literally dying in front of their faces? Those are questions which will hopefully be asked by local animal advocates – asked until reasonable answers are provided.
The appalling level of suffering endured by the animals in Davidson and Guilford counties under UAC is enough to keep most anyone awake at night. Hopefully, it’s enough to land those responsible in jail. But anyhoo, should we hire a lawyer for the director? Iffy.