When we hear stories of abused animals, we often breathe a sigh of relief once we know they have been rescued and taken to a shelter. But what if the shelter itself is a more horrifying, abusive environment then where the animal came from? Who rescues them from that environment?
A nine month old puppy named Gabe was not only the victim of an abusive owner but shelter neglect as well. Gabe’s story of misery started at the end of a chain where he was imprisoned his entire life in a backyard. A Good Samaritan reported Gabe’s abuse to the local animal control but nothing was done at the time to free Gabe from his sad, and lonely environment. However, Gabe’s owners took retaliatory action against Gabe and then tried to hide the evidence. Reportedly they beat Gabe, shot him with bird shot and left him in a field to die.
Gabe was found in the field by a female passerby and taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter in North Carolina. Of course everyone is thinking how wonderful it is that this dog was rescued from the brink of death and taken to a safe place. But this was not the case for poor Gabe. Instead of a respite from his suffering, he was forced to endure more neglect and abuse at the animal shelter. Gabe’s beaten, injured, body was left in a cage out of sight at the back of the shelter for three weeks and never received the appropriate veterinary care he should have.
It wasn’t until Ann Bridges of Bailey’s Way Rescue stepped in. Calling themselves “Team Gabe” they tried for 3 weeks to get him out of the shelter but they wouldn’t release him to their transporter. Dot Kirby was finally allowed to pull Gabe from the shelter and volunteered to foster him but that took an additional three days. When Gabe finally got out of the shelter he was given all the love and care he had been denied. Team Gabe was hoping that Gabe was going to live the life he was worthy of. Unfortunately, he never got that chance. Gabe was unable to recover from his injuries and passed away on May 18th.
The original owners of Gabe were charged with animal cruelty but as with most abuse cases only received a slight slap on the wrist. Since Gabe’s case, the Guilford County Animal Shelter where Gabe was housed has been taken over by Guilford County officials based on allegations of animal cruelty, failure to provide proper veterinary care, misappropriation of county funds and improper drug administration. The shelter Executive Director Marsha Williams has been fired from her position as a result of the state releasing the findings of its investigation into the shelter. Williams was earning a $92, 000 a year salary. The findings included 100 documented examples of animal cruelty and an unusually high number of dead animals in kennels at the local Davidson shelter.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington Police Department are also working in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office on their own separate investigations of unrelated reports of animal abuse and misappropriation of county funds. The D.E.A. is launching their own investigation regarding the improper drug administration.
Gabe has been wronged twice by the people he depended on to care for him; first his original owners, then the shelter which was supposed to be a safe haven for animals like Gabe.
We cannot bring Gabe back but we can right this horrific wrong. Please sign the petition requesting that Marsha Williams and any other person(s) responsible for contributing to Gabe’s pain, suffering, and death along with the pain, suffering, and death of several other animals at the shelter be investigated, charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We need to take a stand for Gabe, to be the voice he didn’t have to call for help, to tell his story and to get justice for him.