Horrid Conditions and Cover-Up at Jefferson Shelter
Volunteers made a disturbing discovery this holiday season at the Humane Society of Marion County, a shelter in Jefferson, Texas. Volunteers Melissa Moit and Christie Woodson heard the shelter needed help with cleanup along with rumors of malnourished and injured animals.
The cover-up allegations started before Thanksgiving when volunteer worker Gayle Robinson tried to drop off pet supplies at the shelter. The resident volunteer Caroline Wedding refused to let her in with the supplies and the property looked poorly maintained.
"The conditions I saw when I went on that property were horrid -- just horrid," Robinson told the Longview News-Journal. "Dogs living in absolute filth, malnourished, sick and hurt."
Robinson told Moit and Woodson about what she saw. They went to offer aid, but what they found was horrific. When the two took soiled linens to one of the property's portable buildings for laundering, they discovered two large deep freezers containing the bodies of dead dogs. The freezers were covered in feces and trash, and they couldn't count the number of bodies inside.
What The Shelter Says
On the shelter's Facebook page the organization previously known as "Dixie Humane Society" says their volunteers "share a common goal which is to save animals from unwanted situations, and place them into loving homes." That's not how it appeared when law enforcement arrived to investigate.
Caroline Wedding, the former volunteer still living on the property said the dead dogs belonged to a nearby veterinarian, Bruce Bradley.
She said Dr. Bradley's freezers broke and the shelter agreed to store euthanized dogs for him until the company that normally disposes of them could arrange for pickup. Bradley's office did not corroborate.
The Society's new volunteer coordinator Laura Romine told a different story. She said the dead dogs were ones the society had euthanized within the past few weeks, but with reason. Romine has only been serving in her role for a few weeks, but she said sometimes if a stray bites someone, they have to be euthanized and their head sent off for rabies testing.
Caroline Wedding no longer works at the shelter and Humane Society board members are working to address discoveries made by volunteers. According to the board, the facility is being cleaned and dogs are now receiving humane treatment and care.