Guilford County won’t file animal cruelty charges in animal shelter investigation

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — No animal cruelty charges will be filed against former employees of the Guilford County Animal Shelter, the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann said three different individuals reviewed the report from the sheriff’s office and all three came to the same conclusion.

The DA and Guilford County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the shelter in July, looking into allegations of animal cruelty and financial misappropriation at the shelter. The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the potential financial misconduct.

Col. Randy Powers said that the sheriff’s office is confident animal cruelty did occur at the shelter, but they were not able to obtain enough evidence to pinpoint one individual and merit charges.

“You can’t charge a corporation with a crime,” he said. “So that’s why there are no charges.”

Powers added that, should the Sheriff’s department receive any new information or evidence, it could cause them to reopen the investigation.

A similar investigation in Davidson County resulted in felony charges for three former employees of the United Animal Coalition, which managed the animal shelter there and in Guilford County. In August, Davidson County Commissioners unanimously voted to end their contract with the United Animal Coalition.

The three Davidson County employees — former shelter director Marsha Williams, her daughter Dana Williams-King and Marissa Studivent, a veterinary technician — were indicted in September on charges of felony animal cruelty by a Davidson County grand jury. All three have been fired.

Studivent’s husband told FOX8 he is not surprised that Guilford County decided not to pursue charges against his wife. He said Davidson County should not have, either.

“These charges were unjust and unfair and never should have happened,” Michael Studivent said. “And the fact that Guilford County has turned around and said there’s nothing here — yeah that does validate my point.”

In addition to animal cruelty, Williams faces two charges of keeping a controlled substance at the Davidson County shelter as well as two felony counts of obstruction of justice.

Davidson County officials said Monday they are still reviewing the case for possible additional charges.

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