Director Targeted in Investigation
Atlanta, GA - Randy Travis, of Fox 5 News, reports on the management at the Fulton County animal shelter. Director, Jere Alexander, is making questionable decisions with shelter pit bulls and her own. Back in August, a pit bull attacked five school children waiting for a bus. A police officer shot and killed the animal to stop it. All five kids went to the hospital.
On the day of the attack, Fulton County Animal Services issued subpoenas to the parents of the five injured children and asked the victims and the dog owner to appear in court for a vicious dog case. The next month, the father of one of the victims, Patrick Cotton, said his wife went downtown but couldn't find the case. "She called me and she stated we're not even on the docket. I just wasted a whole day of work for nothing," said Cotton.
The vicious dog charges against the dog owner disappeared.
The I-Team could find no record of the vicious dog tickets either, but an email from Alexander, was discovered that was written to her staff the day after the attacks. The email said, "I've had a chance to think about a situation from yesterday and get some more information; and I'm not OK with the vicious tickets written by David. I don't remember the women's name offhand, but please find them and make them go away."
One day after the I-Team questioned the county, a new vicious dog ticket was issued to the dog's owner with a new court date. Alexander said the timing is coincidental. The issue of the dog attack is just one of many curious moves the I-Team discovered connected to the new director of the shelter. Alexander took control of the shelter in March, after the management contract was awarded to the Barking Hound Village Foundation.
Prior to running the shelter, Alexander wrote extensively about pit bulls and dogfighting. "I know a great deal about this breed and I think that knowledge only betters my ability to manage this particular shelter with such a highly dense pit bull demographic," said Alexander. Internet Archives show that her website, pitarchive.org, listed 3 "advisors" last year, one is a convicted pet abuser and the other is facing dogfighting charges.
The I-Team also looked into the Fulton County Animal Shelter, which on some days is 75% filled with pit bulls. Former employees said Alexander intentionally looked the other way when her favorite breed went on the attack. Myles Swain (who was fired by Alexander) had the task of compiling a list of dogs to euthanize in order to reduce crowding. Swain said Alexander routinely scratched one breed from the list: pit bulls.
"The ones that showed the most aggression were the ones they were more diligent of wanting to keep," said Swain. "A lot of them stayed there for several months in their pen, just day in and day out cause there's really nothing you can do with them."
The investigation also found that Alexander was chaining her pit bulls. In DeKalb County, where Alexander lives, chaining dogs is illegal. On two different days, Fox 5 cameras saw the chained pit bulls. An amateur video shot on a third day showed more chained pit bulls on the property. Alexander said, "Well, there are times that a dog can be on a tether for exercise purposes while a kennel is being cleaned out or something along those lines."
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10/31/08: Coverage of the Fulton County Animal Shelter - DogsBite.org