MEMPHIS, Nov. 4 (UPI) — The Memphis city animal shelter is under investigation after three dogs allegedly starved to death there.
Shelby County sheriff’s deputies raided the shelter last week, seizing computers, records, bags of empty dog food and two cell phones, among other things, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. The Sheriff’s Office acted based on a tip from a whistle blower.
Ten employees at the shelter and Ernest Alexander, the animal services administrator, were suspended. But Mayor A.C. Wharton said Tuesday they had been reinstated pending the outcome of the investigation, with precautions including surveillance cameras scheduled to be installed this week.
If employees are suspected of deliberately killing or mistreating animals, they could be charged with aggravated animal cruelty and official misconduct. They might also face a tampering with evidence charge because one of the dogs that died, a pit bull-Labrador mix, was evidence in an animal cruelty case.
The number of deaths at the shelter more than doubled in two years, from 75 in 2006, to 119 in 2007 and 193 last year.
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