Authorities are investigating an animal control shelter after photos of workers mistreating the animals were posted to Facebook.
Several employees at the Animal Care and Control facility located in Charlotte, NC, have been questioned by police and may face termination of suspension without pay reports WSOC-TV. The facility is a division of the Charlotte-Meckenburg Police Department.
The photos, which were posted to Facebook back in August, were only recently brought to the attention of investigators after a member of an animal advocacy group noticed them. One photo shows a ferret without any of its fur and the caption “Someone thought it would be funny to Nair” the ferret. Another shows a cat with a cigarette in its mouth and a knife between its paws. The third photo shows a cat with a pen in its mouth and the caption “Angry kitty wants to write you a note.” The animals appear to be tranquilized in the photos.
Both cats were euthanized, according to a police spokesperson, though it’s not clear whether the euthanasia occurred before or after the photos were taken. The ferret was later adopted.
Susan Boyer, a vet technician at the clinic, defended the photos, saying, “There was not one bit of animal cruelty involved with that,” and that the photos were just instances of “bad judgment” by good workers. “I compare that to if you’ve ever put your dog or cat in a Halloween costume. You’ve done the same thing.”
But Samantha Laine, a local animal rescuer who was involved in exposing the case, disagrees. She, along community members and supporters reaching as far as Europe, have created an online petition to demand reform at the shelter.
Facebook has been making headlines recently as an increasing means for authorities around the globe to launch investigations. Just this week we wrote about the Israeli Army using Facebook to catch draft-dodgers.
Patrick Cannon, Charlotte’s Mayor Pro Tem, said that his office has been receiving hundreds of calls and emails from concerned locals. Disciplinary actions against the workers involved cannot be disclosed until Monday at the earliest, according to police attorney Mark Newbold.