83 Missing Feral Cats; Few Records
Atlanta, GA - Back in August, after some pit bulls went on a cat-killing binge, we sarcastically stated that pit bulls might be the solution to the U.S. feral cat problem. It appears that our sarcasm was not far from the truth. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports that Jere Alexander signed out 83 feral cats at the Fulton County animal shelter. She gave the cats to an unlicensed "rescue" organization that she herself operates. Authorities do not know what happened to the innocent cats.
Perhaps the cats became bait animals for pit bulls.
The AJC reports that one evening -- after Jere and Rocky signed out 19 cats -- longtime kennel manager Myles Swain, who was later fired by Jere, confronted the director the next day. Alexander told Swain that she took the cats to a rescue organization called Nine Lives, a "trap, neuter and release" group. Over a four month period, Nine Lives took 83 cats from the shelter, more than twice the number taken by all other groups. A subsequent investigation showed that Jere ran the cat organization.
"Rescue groups that take animals from shelters must be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture, but officials found no such records. An investigation by the department last week found Alexander ran the rescue group. But it could not determine what happened to the cats, including whether they were neutered or released. Charles Woody, who was listed on the form as a vet who neutered the cats for Nine Lives, said Friday he never heard of the group."
Jere Alexander resigned earlier this month after Fox 5 news investigators exposed multiple dangerous, if not criminal, actions taken by Alexander while serving as the director. (Please see: I-Team, Fox 5 News Breaks Story on Fulton Animal Shelter). Among other things, Jere made a vicious dog ticket "disappear" after a pit bull attacked 5 children waiting for a school bus; she allowed pit bulls in the Fulton County animal shelter to terrorize and kill other dogs; and she broke county laws by chaining her own pit bulls.
American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) Group Linked to Dogfighters
One of Alexander's first hires as Director of the Fulton County Animal Services was a pit bull breeder, Sherri Self, whose husband, Tony Self, was under indictment for transporting fighting dogs. Alexander also ran a website (pitarchive.org) with advisers who had dogfighting-related charges in their pasts: Tom Garner and T.L. Williams. Sherri Self is also the former president of the Georgia American Pit Bull Terrier Association. Alexander served as the Vice President of this group as recently as 2007.
This establishes a "direct" link between an APBT group and dogfighters. DogsBite.org imagines that many APBT and anti-BSL groups -- which forcibly lobby policymakers to oppose all breed specific laws (BSL) -- across the country are directly involved with breeders of fighting dogs and dogfighters.
According to the AJC, Sherri's husband, Tony Self, pleaded guilty last week to a felony charge of transporting dogs for fighting and was sentenced to a year in prison. The AJC also noted that Jere's husband, Rocky Alexander, wrote on a website that he is "a professional canine behaviorist, trainer, handler, historian and conditioner" who grew up in Washington State in an area where "a professional dogfight was as normal as a baseball game." Neither Jere or Rocky could be reached to comment on the article.
The AJC also reported that Alexander and her husband, Rocky, took home one especially aggressive pit bull named "Beast" from the Fulton County shelter. They never returned the dog. Beast was being held at the shelter as evidence in a criminal dogfighting case.
10/31/08: Coverage of the Fulton County Animal Shelter - DogsBite.org