South Bryan resident J.R. Gill said a problem he had with Bryan County Animal Control earlier in the week goes to show that those in charge at the South Bryan shelter are not doing their job properly. He and his neighbors created a stir about the alleged incident via a Facebook posting.
Meanwhile, representatives from the shelter say the posting was incorrect, and they are doing everything that is required by law.
The controversy started Tuesday when animal control officer Tommy Foster came out and picked up two cats Gill had trapped near Parker’s on Cartertown Road. Gill said he and his wife have been feeding feral cats in the area and, in an effort not to overpopulate the area, looked to animal control in hopes of getting the two cats adopted out.
When Foster returned with the cages, Gill said he asked what happened to the cats.
"He (Foster) gestured like he was shooting a handgun, and told me that he does ‘that’ whenever he gets an animal he can’t handle," Gill said.
The Facebook posting from Gill’s Cartertown Road neighbor proclaimed that Foster shot the cats with a pistol and threw their bodies in the woods.
Animal control supervisor Skip Youmans said the posting was false, but it has widely circulated and has unjustly shed a negative light on Bryan County Animal Control. He said Foster used a hypodermic needle to put down one of the cats and the other cat is still alive. He said the "phone has been ringing off the hook" with calls from concerned citizens who have read the posting.
Gill went to the shelter Wednesday, examined the euthanized cat and adopted the other cat. Gill said he is satisfied with the results of this particular incident. However, he said his subsequent investigation of Bryan County Animal Control has revealed a "Pandora’s box" of alleged illegal behavior.
Gill said no effort is made to adopt animals in Bryan County and accuses Foster of euthanizing most of the animals immediately after picking them up. He added that he has no reason to believe this is occurring at the North Bryan shelter.
He said he has spoken to numerous people who have offered to help adopt at the shelter but were turned away by Foster. He also said the bodies of the animals are thrown into a dumpster after being euthanized.
Youmans said Bryan County Animal Control is very active in adoption programs, which are mostly on the north end. He admitted that adoption is not one of Foster’s strengths, but animals are pulled from both ends of the counties for adoption programs initiated by Thomas Sanders, who runs the North Bryan shelter.Gill said Foster told him of an incident last weekend where someone parked their vehicle at the Fort McAllister Marina and left their dog in the car for several hours. He said the dog died from heat exhaustion yet no charges of animal cruelty were brought.
County Sheriff’s Department were brought into the investigation. Youmans said he does not believe there was not enough evidence to press charges against any particular individual.
Gill said he strongly supports the efforts of the South Bryan Animal Welfare League to create a no-kill shelter.
Gill, who is also a concert promoter, said he plans to bring national music acts to the new amphitheater and funnel the proceeds toward the creation of the shelter.