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Sheriff releases new, shocking details in Guilford County Animal Shelter investigation

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Sheriff BJ Barnes has released new, shocking details about what he calls “horrendous cases of abuse” at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

Just one day after the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office announced it would not file charges against former employees of the shelter, Barnes took to Facebook to provide more insight into the conditions at the shelter.

Among the findings were missing animals and dead animals stacked five feet high.

He wrote:

“Friends, now for the rest of the story as it relates to the animal shelter. As requested by the DA we presented him the five most horrendous cases of abuse we found at the shelter. I will not go into particulars out of respect for those like me who love animals, but know it involves broken bones , open wounds and some missing body parts. We presented the cases to the DA and he felt while the cases were truly awful he questioned how it could be shown who was actually responsible for not taking care of these issues. The ultimate decision was the shelter managers, but her defense could be she was not told of the situation by her subordinates and the documentation was so poor (also the managers responsibility) that it became one persons word against the other persons word, both with vested interest. The atrocities that occurred at the shelter are hidden by poor management, poor oversight by management and the board and poor oversight by both the state and the county. I’m saying this now because since the DA is not going to prosecute the facts can be brought out without fear of hurting the case, according to the DA there is no clear cut case. We still have missing animals that cannot be identified by records available. We have dead animals stacked five foot high in the shelter freezer with no explanation as to why, the shelter had a crematorium. We still have computers to review, but it seems that criminal charges for abuse are not going to happen in Guilford Co., but if our DA is correct Davidson Co. charges may be doubtful since their circumstances are almost the same. The only thing for sure is the shelter is in better shape now under the control of the county and things have been put back in order. Someone should have to be held accountable for the pain and suffering of the animals at both shelters. Good luck Davidson Co.”

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.

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.

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