Caruthersville Humane Society asking for help getting new facility

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KAIT) - The Caruthersville Humane Society is requesting help from the public in finding a new facility.


The facility located at 500 East Industrial Drive has been in use exclusively by the city since April 19.


According to a statement released by the Caruthersville Humane Society, Caruthersville city attorney Lawrence Dorroh sent the organization a letter of notification that the City Council is in discussions to "accomplish the physical separation of its operations" with the Humane Society.


Included in the discussions will be the $33,000 the Caruthersville Humane Society donated to the construction of the shelter, according to the letter received June 9 by the Humane Society.


Dorroh explained in the letter that the city of Caruthersville is considering the termination of the partnership with the Humane Society due to a breach of trust and allegations made by the Humane Society against the Caruthersville animal control officer.


Region 8 News talked to Caruthersville mayor Diane Sayre and city operations supervisor Terry Rushing who manages animal control. Both declined to do on-camera interviews at the advice of the city attorney, but released the letter sent to the Humane Society attorney Jim Bruce.


Caruthersville mayor Diane Sayre proposed a six month transition period to allow the Humane Society enough time to relocate, but said no final decision has been made as to whether the organization has to leave the building permanently.


According to Dorroh, "the placement of a hidden camera by the Humane Society without consultation of the Mayor or law enforcement is indicative of a relationship that does not have the level of trust that is necessary to continue".


Dorroh also cites "an unwillingness to share any evidence that the Humane Society may have of wrongdoing by that city employee" as another factor in the decision of the City Council end the relationship. 


Humane Society President Karol Wilcox said when three board members took pictures to the City Council of dead and neglected animals that Society members believe were mistreated by an animal control officer in March 2012, their concerns were ignored.


"We felt like it fell on deaf ears," she said."We had concerns about mysterious deaths of animals when (the shelter) was under the city's watch. There were some dead animals thrown in a ditch instead of cremated properly, several issues about timing on how long you hold an animal before you euthanize it."


Rushing said no evidence, only allegations were provided by Humane Society Board members, but if proper disciplinary procedures will be taken if he finds that the accusations against the animal control officer are found to be true after further investigation.


Wilcox said the Society installed the surveillance camera at the shelter to try and provide more evidence of what board members believe was inhumane treatment.


Wilcox said she does not know who is in possession of the camera.


The letter addressed to the Caruthersville Humane Society from Dorroh says "our police department continues to retain possession of the camera."


Region 8 News contacted the Caruthersville Chief of Police Tony Jones, who said the police department does not have the camera and is not investigating any crime.


"We still have no answers from the city, nor have received our camera back, or seen what's on it."


The Cupple Rubber building located at the corner of 13th and Trumann is being used as a temporary shelter.


"We do have great support from our community people and we expect that it's going to continue, but we're asking anybody out there who can help us with any ideas to please come forward," Wilcox said.

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