Animal center director receives death threats over abuse allegations

6:05 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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An East Tennessee animal control office is under fire for cruelty allegations that have surfaced on the internet, and its director is now under police protection.

Campbell County officials tell 10news, Betty Crumley, the woman who runs the Adrian Baird Animal Center has received dozens of threats since April 1. That includes threats on her life that are tied to those claims of abuse.  

Concerns came to light after someone posted a video on YouTube that contains images and sound that claim that some dogs and cats housed there are not being euthanized with dignity.  A warning, some people might consider some of the pictures in the video disturbing. 

Some of the images show dogs that are alive, after they had been allegedly euthanized.  The video makes the case that animals are only given one-third of a dose of the recommended drug to put them to sleep. If they aren't put in kennels prior to their death, the video says some are animals that still have a pulse are put in the freezer. 

The Campbell County Mayor's office fully disputes the allegations; and Crumley, who has served as the center's director since 2008, denies any wrongdoing.

"This woman has done nothing wrong. She has nothing to do with euthanizing," said Deputy Mayor David Young.

"These are the same type of people that go to abortion clinics. Yes, I'm very afraid," said Crumley.

Anonymous threats against Crumley have been made in comment sections of various websites where the video is now posted.  Other threats have come in the form of phone calls to the mayor's office and to the animal center since the video showed up on line.

While 10News was inside the kennel area of the animal center, Crumley received a phone call from a woman who said she was in Canada. Crumley turned on the speaker function as the woman said, "You treat these animals like that, there's a place in hell for you."

Crumley explained that the images in the video are not accurate, "Those pictures are not any part of our shelter. I just can't believe this group is believeing all of that stuff."
Young said it's been tough to track the threats, but it's clear they're from animal rights advocates, "We had a group this morning that said we have 400 members within a 20 mile radius of where she lives. They want a picture to put on the internet. They know everything about her."

10News received several viewer tips about the YouTube video, and the abuse allegations. 10News was exclusively allowed inside the center on Wednesday for a tour of the facility, and to interview Crumley.  

Inside, we found a clean, sterile environment; dogs and cats that are well-fed, and heated floors.  The center was not at full capacity.  There were less than 10 adult dogs, five puppies, two adult cats, and five kittens being held in kennels or cages.  All had water, and or food.  

Outside, Crumley took us to a shed containing several freezers where euthanized dogs and cats are stored after they've died. Crumley explained the euthanization process, and denies that any animals that still have a pulse have ever been put inside the freezer.

"When a dog comes in to be euthanized, you guess the poundage. Usually on the big dogs, it takes both of the technicians. They get the juice out and give them a shot. It's called an "IP". Then within minutes they die. At that point when there's no heartbeat, then they are put in the freezer."
Crumley also showed us a record from a state inspection done on March 21, 2013.  Crumley gave 10News a copy of a certificate from the state.  It shows the center "satisfactorily" passed all areas of the inspection, which includes record-keeping, storage of euthanasia solution, licensed personnel, euthanasia logs and other animal records.  
As the county mayor's office works with local law enforcement to determine who made and distributed what they call a "misleading video," Young said whoever did it will likely face charges. Young and Crumley both said she is under police protection for the time being.  10News did not see any law enforcement officers or vehicles at the center during the two hours we were there.


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