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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

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An Outsider Looking In

Great post - very accurate information, as well.

The state regulatory (Ag Animal Protection) office's "investigation" is purely regulatory.
It is up to the county officials to file charges and/or prosecute any person allegedly in violation of animal neglect, cruelty or any other criminal offense.

And totally off topic, but in that particular photo of Mr. Paulk, he could be Sonny Perdue's twin.

:)

http://www.nndb.com/people/363/000044231/?iact=hc&vpx=179&vpy=157&dur=1450&hovh=201&hovw=156&tx=74&ty=125&ei=IdQmTpyuGJO50AGtkLnxCg&page=2&tbnh=167&tbnw=150&start=10&ndsp=9&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:10

Susan Leavens

Laid out very well LAKE,
In regards to animal cruelty in the public it is absolutely not acceptable! Any individual that commits any act of animal cruelty or inhumane treatment will be written a citation brought to magistrate court and punished by legal system. Fines range from 50 dollars to 1000 dollars probation and jail time could be imposed; and in certain cases transferred to state court. I have written over 400 citations in Lowndes County which include the cities of Hahira and Valdosta. Certainly my character in a court of law is based evidence provided during prosecution. I certainly hope my character would judged based on my work ethics and performance and evaluations, not on personal opinion. The five years I have worked for Lowndes County Animal Services I have lost 1 (one) case and that case I was told to issue the citation and it was dismissed in court. All others were prosecuted some in which I had witnesses and some which I did not. Based on the evidence I provide and my own testimony these people were found guilty. Laws are in place for each and every individual.
A scenario of how people get prosecuted; you commit a “crime on a child” you would be arrested and brought before a court of law and if indeed the evidence prevails you would be prosecuted for the crime.
A scenario for GDA, you commit a crime you have an administration hearing. GDA find the crime is valid; they address the issues by preparing a recommendation of how to “fix” the problem. They may be issues a small fine for breaking their “rules” but that is all. And some of the recommendations GDA asked the county to do… they have not done. And it was to remove a certain person from the Tech Room and euthanasia records the statement was made by the director “I can’t remove this person because they are the only person I can trust” if you do not comply there is no fine its simply a recommendation GDA tries to “Fix” problems.
In the real world we all live in… crimes are prosecuted by a court of law. If one person can show me where one person was prosecuted in a court of law, and found guilty or not guilty then that means something. However all that has been done is GDA found them guilty of violating a regulation or rule… real simple. GDA as far as I know have no court proceedings in there regulatory office.
OK,
Joe Prichard said the hog was neutered by his employee, would he have taken the same approach with each employee who castrated and ripped the tusk out of a pot belly pig? I seriously doubt that and that pot belly pig was not “just castrated” she Linda Patelski advised several employees she also fixed a scrotal hernia. And typically that would require sutures. A scrotal hernia is when the intestines seep into the scrotal sack through a hole and it has to be repaired. If we divide each incident… there are crimes.
GDA has issued violation after violation… so when do they prosecute? An even better question would be how many violations do they allow? And do they collect any money for these violations; and if they are (which I seriously doubt) how much is Lowndes County willing to spending in tax payer’s money to keep these people in their positions. Regardless of personal attacks which have been made against me stating I’m a disgruntle employee (which makes no sense) these are punishable crimes plain and simple no matter who did them.
Susan Leavens

concerned citizen

The allegations had also been made to the DEA, they are federal and have no ties to the county and are more than a regulatory agency. They found nothing, in these types of matters you need to have proof not just the accusations of a couple of people.

Susan Leavens

I’ll elaborate; the D.E.A. Drug Enforcement Agency they handle drugs and no one knows about what happened in their investigation. However Joe Prichard stated “we have never been contacted by DEA” so you continue to say that was unfounded, perhaps you know more about that and would like to elaborate? In Pat Smiths statement she was told by Dr. Thornhill he was contacted by the DEA. And in my statement I stated I was told in a meeting with Dr. Thornhill and several other employees that the DEA contacted him. Correct me if I’m wrong but the DEA does not investigate animal cruelty or inhumane treatment. And just FIY, everyone keeps saying PETA investigated, the humane society investigated, and so on, first they never investigated, they merely helped that’s all. Even the Lowndes County Administration office Joe Prichard and several other people investigated for internal issues, (which animal cruelty, inhumane treatment and neglect are not internal issues) they can’t prosecute they can only turn it over to law enforcement; which they did not.
And again Georgia Department of Agriculture is a regulatory agency only, they did investigate and it was founded, hence violations!! GDA handles it like this:
If a child was in school (GDA) and stole 100 dollars from another student the school (GDA) would suspend (violation) them which would be their punishment (violation) for the theft from school (GDA), then law enforcement would charge them with the “crime” of theft the child would be seen before a court of law criminally not regulatory.
The only way a person can be prosecuted is in a court of law:
1. Criminally
2. Civilly
A criminal investigation is done by law enforcement. And anyone can civilly bring charges against a person and bring it before a judge. Its real cut and dry.
Just like they did in the O.J Simpson case there’s no double jeopardy in two different courts of law but both can have convictions. And I will say the word investigation has been way over used in this. It has never been investigated by law enforcement.
Susan Leaves

concerned citizen

No the DEA doesn't investigate animal cruelty but one of the things that keeps getting brought up is the euthanasia log, if there was hard core proof that it was falsified why didn't they do any thing about it, as far as I know Dr. Tim Thornhill still has his license. As far as the Dept of Ag goes, they are regulatory, they could have pulled the shelters license. I don't believe that either one of these things has happened which tells me there is no evidence.

Susan Leavens

GDA "found violations" each time it was at the shelter have you read any of the open records? I have no idea what there protocol is... my best guess is they "regulate" and Lowndes County has a nice shelter and again the citizens of Lowndes County should not have to suffer for what employees do inside the shelter, and can you tell me one shelter that has been closed for what their employees did? The citizens should not have to suffer in anyway. You said “one of the things that keeps getting brought up is the euthanasia log” The proof is in my statement if you'd take a moment and read it. Page 13 through 15 the VDT officer was present when the dog was euthanized if you can find the euth log that has his signature on it then you will prove me wrong, but it was redone the 14th the original was shredded. That’s proof enough; one time is too many in regards to the law.
The logs were destroyed many times. I have no idea about Dr. Thornhill and his license I don’t even know what the DEA did or didn’t do I don’t work at his office I just know what was done at the shelter. I guess if you’re that interested in the DEA and Dr. Thornhill you could contact him.
Susan Leavens

concerned citizen

Yes I can cite one shelter that was shut down by GDA over violations involving euthanasia and all the employees were fired. In 2001 the Tifton Animal Shelter which was run by the Humane Society at the time was shut down, I'm sure you can do another opens record request and get the information. ;)

Susan Leavens

http://tiftongazette.com/local/x323686815/PETA-calls-situation-at-shelter-tragic/print

Ummm I beg to differ, Tift County Shelter was shut down because of useing the gas chamber, and it was I quote "Rat infested" and I'll add this to the list also "In 2001, there were a number of problems at Tifton’s animal shelter, which was then operated by the Humane Society. The main issue was that the shelter was filthy and rat-infested. Tommy Irvin shut down the shelter. One of the issues raised during that period was that drugs kept at the shelter for euthanasia were abused" So they were not shut down soley for Euth Violations it appears the shelter was a wreck. And may I add Regina Wells is still the director.

http://tiftcounty.org/departmentHome.php?dp=10

From the paper:PETA sought and won an injunction that would stop Irvin and the Department of Agriculture from continuing to license shelters that gassed animals in a court hearing held last Friday morning before Judge Cynthia D. Wright. “I think it became apparent that when Tommy Irvin approved the new gas chamber (at the TTCAS) that he was outside the law. It spoke to a larger problem in the Department (of Agriculture), that they were not only ignoring the law, they were authorizing the violation of the law,”

Susan Leavens :)

concerned citizen

The Gas chamber was in 2007. This was in 2001 when the humane society ran it. Regina took over as director when it was turned back over to be county run after the humane society lost there shelter license, here it is from the link you posted

"In 2001, there were a number of problems at Tifton’s animal shelter, which was then operated by the Humane Society. The main issue was that the shelter was filthy and rat-infested. Tommy Irvin shut down the shelter. One of the issues raised during that period was that drugs kept at the shelter for euthanasia were abused.

Referring to the prior problems at the shelter and the fact that anyone administering lethal injections have to be supervised by a veterinarian, Wells said, “If I was a veterinarian here and that was my livelihood, I wouldn’t do it again. "

Susan Leavens

Correct, but it was not a county run shelter it was run by the humane society privately but licensed under GDA if I am understanding this correctly? And really it shouldnt matter who is running it private or county.
Tommy Ervin was the Department of Agriculture Commissioner and he licensed a shelter to use the gas chamber even though it was against the law to use which was being run by Ragina Wells. And he shut the shelter down in 2001 for the illegal use of drugs which was then run by the humane society. I mean he was the commissioner and he allowed and even licensed them to use the chamber. Why would one even think GDA would shut Lowndes County down, they have a nice shelter its not rat infested. And the violations are from the GDA.
The big question concerned citizen, you actually asked!
So why haven’t they shut down Lowndes County.
Well, if the commissioner of agriculture can license a facility and allow them to run a chamber and it’s against the law what else could one expect? Course there not going to shut down the shelter Gary Black may have never seen our statements, the attorney for GDA is Cora Potter she told me she didn’t know anything about any statements… it leaves one to wonder indeed.
The point is I didn’t write the violations to Lowndes County, the Department of Agriculture did. I merely stated the logs were destroyed I didn’t mention one thing about illegal use of the euthanasia drugs other then the right amounts are not used correctly nor where they written correctly on the logs. I stated what was bought over the internet, and that it was flagged by Dr. Thornhill, in my opinion that is why the DEA was involved. The DEA had nothing to do with the shelter and the euthanasia logs it was about the purchasing of drugs to dart animals with over the internet; again if you would read Pat Smiths notes in the open records it would explain everything. In Pats notes, she states some of the handwriting looks the same but the names were different, these are not things I said; Pat Smith was the shelter inspector these things are in her notes.
The question is certainly why hasn’t something been done? It’s not about the evidence because GDA is the one wrote the evidence. Can I prove they were destroyed…without a shadow of a doubt, yes!
Susan Leavens :)

An Outsider Looking In

Just my two cents:

The gas chamber was originally "banned" in 2000 - but Ag auth'd several shelters to buy brand new chambers, and operate them - yes, in violation of the ban bill.

Then the infamous Cobb Co/Ag gas chamber lawsuit took place - Ag was found in violation - and later found in Contempt.

The most recent "ban" bill was passed in August of 2010 - and guess what - it didn't ban the actual apparatus - i.e the gas chamber. It only prohibited shelters from gassing "dogs and cats".

Cobb Co says they are still using theirs - for "dangerous rabies vectoring wildlife".
In an article not long after that, I read where Cobb Co said they turn over all wildlife to DNR.

So who knows what they are gassing at Cobb County.

Apparently the courts don't care - Ag doesn't care - county commissioners don't care - does anyone really care about anything other than "self" these days?

"Lawlessness" - the Bible has that one pegged squarely on the head in prophecy. Seeing is believing.

Susan Leavens

Amen Outsider Looking In, well said!

Susan Leavens

Gary Black Agriculture Commissoner said what?
The department’s weakest area may be in the animal protection division, which issues licenses to kennels, breeders, animal shelters, rescue groups and stables, and enforces state laws mandating the humane treatment of horses and other animals. Did he say enforces state laws? Perhaps he didn't see the issues about Lowndes County right? Or perhaps there still are some weak areas...maybe? And did he say "enforces state laws" too?

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/05/25/gary-black-and-a-department-of-agriculture-locked-in-amber/

Susan Leavens

An Outsider Looking In

The legal definition of "enforce":

administer, bring to pass, carry into effect, carry into execution, carry out, carry through, coerce, compel, compel obedience, confirmare, dictate, drive, effect, effectuate, employ force, exact, execute, exsequi, force, have executed, impel, implement, impose, insist on, insist upon, make compulsory, make effective, necessitate, obtainby compulsion, obtain by force, press, put in action, put in force, put in operation, put into effect, put into execution, put pressure on, require, strengthen, subject to pressure

*So, "enforce" would apply - but not "enforce" as in "Law "Enforce"ment.


==================================================

The "mission" of the Animal Protection Division:

The Animal Protection Section was created in 1986 to regulate this industry. This Section enforces the humane care of animals and regulates anyone who produces, sells, boards, grooms, offers for adoption, or exchanges pet animals, including birds. The Animal Protection Section monitors the spread of disease in the companion animal industry.

The Animal Protection Section inspects licensed establishments and investigates complaints of people and/or facilities required to be in compliance with the Animal Protection Act, the Bird Dealers Licensing Act, the Animal Protection Rules and Regulations, and the Bird Dealers Licensing Rules and Regulations. The Animal Protection Section program is funded by license fees collected.

Twelve full time animal protection inspectors and two field supervisors ensure that the 3,000 licensed establishments remain in compliance statewide. In order to accomplish compliance, inspectors also work in conjunction with various local, state and federal agencies to assist them with investigating complaints of animal cruelty and dog fighting.

An Outsider Looking In

Not sure if they ever have 12 fulltime inspectors all working at any given same time - due to their very high inspector turnover rate.

And as far as having "over 3000" licensed establishments - that would be an incorrect statement.

The way they have come up with that number is to look at the number total on the WordDoc of their Establishment List. Which, on the last Establishment List I received, shows the total number to be 3766. However, that is not a total number of "establishments" (building, business, property) - that is the total number of LICENSES - paper licenses, not "estabishments".

Let's say, "Fred's Pet Store" gets licensed by Ag. An inspector comes out to his pet store and conducts a pre-license inspection. Since Fred has gerbils, rabbits, fish, puppies and birds for sale in his store, Fred would need to be licensed as a Pet Dealer - AND as a Bird Dealer, too.
Okay, that is two "licenses" that will be issued, but under one roof (establishment). In reality, Ag inspectors would only need to visit one establishment - to inspect two "licenses".

Also, Ag has numerous flea market licensees (Pet Dealers) - and since most flea markets operate on the weekends, Ag doesn't (or used to didn't) work on weekends - but IF they do now, and IF they inspected a flea market for licensed/unlicensed operating Pet Dealers, all of the animals are generally housed in one area of the flea market - so it wouldn't be like the Inspector would need to drive all over town, or the state, to inspect each one at that particular flea market.

Why is this an issue? Because numerous times before, Ag has been quoted as using that "We have over 3000 establishments we have to inspect" line to try to justify their departmental failings, as well as the state of disrepair this state's animal welfare situation stays in.

i.e. Ag seems to want to try to make it sound like they are so very busy driving here and there, what with "over 3000 licensed establishments" to have to inspect - but in reality, the total of actual "establishments" would be closer to around 1600, I believe. I counted the list - line by line - a couple of years ago, and if I remember correctly, the total was around 1600 or so.

My opinion - I think they would prefer people/media/state auditor "think" they are extremely busy, short handed, untrained, overwhelmed, etc.

LIFETIME CITIZEN

I visited the animal shelter in lowndes county mon. and wed. there are no problems in there i see, with what they have, i ask an attendant in there how things are, he stated they are a little short handed but things are just beautiful, folks are talking bout dept. of ag. being shorthanded,extremely busy, overwhelmed, those people down there are really short handed, but there still polite, and handling business, with all the negative stuff still coming, they are not complaining. But they are gonna get some people, and things are looking up beat. Youu gotta understand there doing it all shorthanded, 2 officers, and 4 shelter attendants, handling a whole county, and city,if i could give em all raises , i would.They have a few people thet have been in animal control a long time, and never had any complaints, all these violations people keep stating , there is always mistakes made, correcting them is the problem, if we close every place down for violations, there wont be any businesses in this town that are open, its because your allowed to correct them, god given right. You get rid of trouble makers, you have a smooth running operation. IF ANY OF YOU ARE READING THIS FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER, GREAT JOB, EXCELLENT JOB, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

An Outsider Looking In

Concerned Citizen, you are implying that a person who reports animal neglect and/or cruelty is a "trouble maker"?

Susan Leavens

As I remember nothing was ever stated that the shelter was in not taken care of or the people were impolite. I will say again Lowndes County has a wonderful shelter they provide to the public. And yes they are very short staffed and they have and always have taken very good care of the facility, shelter attendants animal control officers and their trustee. The issues are not about mistakes, I posative it’s not a mistake when you punch a dog in the head; inject peroxide in an animal’s eye, or to leave one without vet care or euthanasia. But mistakes are made with paper work every day, no one is perfect we all make mistakes; but when it constant it is a problem.
Susan Leavens

curious bystander

yes, leaving an animal without vet care IS inexcusable!

LIFETIME CITIZEN

Ahhhh, I never said anyone that reports animal cruelty, or neglect was a trouble maker, Ahhhhhhh, you seem to have someone , or some folks in mind, curious bystander. Let me give you an Ahhhhh too,ms leavens, you simply put your name in as the trouble maker, i never said you in particular. Like i said before we all make mistakes, but you allege these things happened , people are being fired, corrections being made, even a regular citizen commiting a crime, under this first offender law, even they get just a warning, i dont care what any of you say, all these government agencies are not trying to protect someone they dont even know, its impossible, every person looking, investigating, spying, whatever you may call it, impossible for everybody to be corrupt, like someone said before when will it end, thats all.What possibly can you gain from calling everybody after so many people have looked into your allegations, and fixing what is broke. I mean next its supreme court, , the governor, then the FBI, and the president of the united states, then united nations, I mean i know this sounds ridiculous, but thats the way it seems, when will it all end, there has to an ending somewhere.

Susan Leavens

To life time citizen,
Ahhhhh too,ms leavens, you simply put your name in as the trouble maker, i never said you in particular. even a regular citizen commiting a crime, under this first offender law, even they get just a warning."
I simply put my name in as one of the individuals that was not scared to step forward. And there were four current employees that stated in that meeting that was conducted by the county that abuse had occurred in the shelter. I would assume since you imply you have read the open records you would knew one former employee also wrote a statement.
First offender does not exempt your from the law, if merely states “You are a first Offender” they don’t get warnings, they get a lesser sentence; consideration for being a first offender, but the point is they wouldn’t have to claim first offender if they did not commit a crime.

I am not letting it go. Personal opinions count when it’s in reference to the matters in the blog cruelty and inhumane treatment, but personal attacks are childish. Regardless if you like me or not it’s not what this is about. We all have people that dislike us… it’s irrelevant. I have brought no shame forward; I have merely stated facts in which I have witnessed. And each person that keeps saying these things didn’t happen well then you work there and maybe you didn’t see… or maybe you did, or maybe you’re the one who did some of these things. I have not personally attacked anyone at the shelter, stating facts and information is not attacking it’s just stating what I saw. So if you were not there when those dogs were gutted in back of the shelter ok, if you were not there when those pot belly pigs were neutered, ok, if you were not there in that tech room when peroxide was injected into those cats eyes, ok. If you were not their when the maggots were in those pot belly pigs, ok. If you were not there when cats were smothered, ok; If you were not in the room when those puppies dew claws were twitted off (while he was incarcerated) ok. However, I was not the only one who saw these things. I have not personally attacked Linda Patelski at anytime, I have merely stated things I have seen her do. Personal attacks have not been in anything I have posted or written. It’s ok to disagree, but certainly you can’t say they didn’t happen if you were not there. You may think they are lies, and that’s your opinion. But rather then ridiculing everything, unless you were involved take the time to look at what been provided. Listen to the videos and read. Many of the things everyone keeps saying never happen well; Joe Prichard already said the hog was neutered he made no mention to the maggots in wounds. So before you say it didn’t happen read everything that’s been posted from open records and watch the LLC videos LAKE has provided because most of it’s been admitted to already.
Susan Leavens

LIFETIME CITIZEN

Well, you gotta do what you gotta do, but i can visit someplace i enjoy going too, i enjoy volunteering on occasion. I never said nothing happened, i dont know, but at some point after everyone has investigated, it has to end, we all punish people in different ways, you cant decide what punishment a person should get, if your not satisfied with a persons punishment for doing wrong, sometimes you have to let the lord handle it in the end, but we all have freedom of speech,and you should not be afraid to speak, u know what if i have made or said something personal towards you, i apologize, because i do not know you, and even if i did , its not a good thing to personally attack someone,im just on the outside looking in, we all have things that we think are an injustice,and wrong.It just seems like you want a certain punishment to happen,out of all those cases you prosecuted, how many actually went to jail, what punishment do you want, they have a permanent black spot forever, from all this being put out even if its true or not,they are doing corrective actions,I mean what are you trying to do, i mean do you want to decide there punishment.

Susan Leavens

Lifetime Citizen
If someone commits a crime on a child they are punished if and when they are found guilty in a criminal court of law. When you say I want a certain punishment your right because those animals suffered I want a criminal judge to decide there punishment not Lowndes County. I understand that most people think that I should settle for what Lowndes County has decided to do with the crime/problems at the shelter. I can’t and won’t do that I have to stand by those animals. And if it can be seen in Superior Court then that’s where it will go, but the punishment should fit the crime.
And I would certainly hope that each and every individual would stand up for any animal that has suffered. I commend everyone for volunteering at any shelter, because in the end we all have one agenda to care for the animals.
Susan Leavens

curious bystander

so again I ask, if found not guilty in a court of law, or heaven forbid, if not even charged, then what?

Susan Leavens

I'm confident it's in the right hands and it will be handled.

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