In a shocking claim that many did not want to believe was true, a former employee from the Spencer County Animal Shelter told Eyewitness News that they were asked to freeze an animal to death. The employee, Bridgett Woodson, described how animal control officer Christina Payne asked her to place an animal in a bag, and then in a freezer in two separate occasions, according to Tristate.
The exposé kicked off an investigation into the allegations. Lead investigator, Spencer County Sheriff’s Office Detective Chris King, said that the reports described by Woodson were true. In fact, King discovered that animals had been euthanized by freezing on at least two separate occasions. In one of the instances, four kittens are believed to have been frozen to death. These claims have been corroborated by multiple witnesses.
These animals were not sedated before they were frozen, and were put in the freezer while they were still alive.
The investigation will be turned over to a new agency due to conflicting interests.
And Woodson did what she could to try to end the practice. She said that she approached the board about her concerns, but once she realized that no action was going to be taken she resigned. But knowing that the fate of more animals could be in her hands, she spoke out to the media, which had a more immediate effect on the problem, detailed Tristate.
TONIGHT AT 6- We will have more details on the Spencer County Animal Shelter Investigation. We spoke with a shelter volunteer who says she rescued the rest of the shelter kittens @my44news pic.twitter.com/TAu6Tsk0gD— Megan DiVenti 44News (@MDiVenti44News) August 13, 2018
Euthanizing animals this way is not acceptable according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In fact, the authority says that hypothermia is an “unacceptable and inhumane mode of euthanasia.”
Since the story broke, the animal shelter deleted their Facebook post. Animal control officer Payne also hung up on reporters when they got a hold of her over the phone. The news station also discovered that on Saturday afternoon, the shelter had a sign that said they were not accepting or adopting cats because of a Panleukopenia outbreak.
For now, it’s unclear why Payne directed her subordinates to freeze the animals to death instead of following the correct procedure.
The lead investigator in a case involving the Spencer County Animal Shelter tells Eyewitness News a handful of witnesses have confirmed the shelter euthanized animals on two different occasions by freezing them alive. https://t.co/6mJSveCdtQ @WEHTWTVWlocal— Ashlyn Irons (@ashlyn_irons) August 13, 2018
It’s a horrible story, one that Woodson wasn’t prepared to face when she started working at the shelter. She said that “at first I mean everything was really good, I felt like I was making a difference, but the more time I spent there the more cracks started to come through.”
In addition to the inhumane method of euthanasia being used, Woodson described inadequate veterinary care for cats that are adopted out. She also noted that the shelter failed to contact other locations to help relocate rescues in danger of being euthanized.