Dog Fight On-Give Back the Dog!!! (follow-up)

follow up:

F.A.C.T.S. shelter scrutinized again

Barkley, a giant schnauzer, was adopted by an Animal Control worker before Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett ordered the dog to be relinquished to Diane Abolt. Photo courtesy Savannah Chatham Police.

Less than a week after a state inspector lifted a quarantine and cleared Diane Abolt’s rescue shelter of all violations, new questions about the operation have arisen.

Earlier this week, Mark Murrah, animal protection manager with the Department of Agriculture, said regulators were looking into one or more cases of the viral disease parvo connected with the shelter operation.

Murrah said the shelter was inspected Thursday, but details of the inspection were not available Friday.

Spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Yearta said they would be released next week.

Abolt, however, who runs the shelter out of the home she shares with her husband, County Manager Russ Abolt, said late Friday that no inspection had taken place this week.

“There was no inspection of F.A.C.T.S. on Thursday or any other day this week,” she wrote in an email.

Diane Abolt runs Friends of Animal Control Team Savannah and is licensed to run the shelter.

It housed about 40 animals during a May 17 inspection, despite its licensing for just 20, and was placed under quarantine for kennel cough and cited for inadequate record keeping. A subsequent inspection on May 31 cleared all violations.

County Manager Russ Abolt said they are complying with the requirements regarding animal shelters under the legal advice of County Attorney Jon Hart.

Abolt said he has not used his position as county manager to influence the oversight of his wife’s shelter.

Russ Abolt also said Friday they do not have 40 dogs at their home but was not sure of the exact number.

There are fewer of them every day, he said, as the dogs are flown away with Pilots N Paws animal rescue.

“Since the quarantine was lifted on May 31, 17 dogs have left for their new loving and happy homes,” Diane Abolt wrote in an email.

F.A.C.T.S. had so many dogs, she said, to prevent them from being euthanized at Animal Control.

“It began with the renovation of the shelter and saving as many dogs from being euthanized, and continued because the shelter supervisor would call once or twice a week saying they were going to have to euthanize and could F.A.C.T.S. pull more,” she wrote.

Dog dispute goes to city manager

As this latest inspection comes to light, so does new information about a disputed dog named Barkley, who was claimed by both a Savannah Chatham Animal Control shelter employee and Diane Abolt.

Shelter manager Jodi Lewis and her family adopted the giant schnauzer in April and grew fond of him over the five days they cared for him at their Effingham County home before Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett ordered Lewis to relinquish the animal.

Lovett then sent an Animal Control officer across the county line to collect Barkley.

Lewis compiled a timeline of the events surrounding the incident and included it in a email sent Monday to City Manager Stephanie Cutter seeking “guidance and consultation.”

Click here to view Jodi Lewis’ original email correspondence with Stephanie Cutter, detailing her complaints about disputed dog Barkley

Lewis described trying to resolve the incident through the chain of command but said it “was not resolved fairly and appropriately.”

Lewis details how she waited the appropriate time to adopt the dog but that Abolt, a volunteer, demanded it back anyway and used her husband’s influence and the couple’s friendship with Lovett to get the dog back.

Lewis was called to a meeting at Internal Affairs, told to “choose her battles wisely” and ultimately threatened with dismissal if she failed to hand over Barkley. She did so over her husband’s objections.

“Our Barkley (property) was stolen from us,” Lewis concludes in her letter to Cutter.

“I have been intimidated, (coerced) harassed and placed in a hostile environment. In my opinion, this is misconduct amongst (MANY) other things. I also think my family and I have been criminally violated and our civil rights violated. This has caused me and my family undue stress.

“I did not do anything wrong and I am not the only one affected. My family is a victim also. I believe this is a result of unjust influence. I believe it only happened because people have abused their authority and positions.

“I believe that my job is now at stake. My faith in the integrity and fairness of this department has been greatly decreased. I cannot express in words the emotions and stress I am (still) experiencing from this situation.”

Diane Abolt did not respond to a request for comment on Barkley. Russ Abolt also declined to comment on the dog’s whereabouts.

Cutter replied to Lewis on Wednesday in an email obtained by the Savannah Morning News through an open records request:

“It saddens me to hear of a situation such as this. I am sure that our County Manager would not hold this situation against you. Chief Lovett does report to me and I will address the issue appropriately with him. I will be contacting you to discuss this matter further.

“Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I encourage you to continue your work exhibiting professionalism and courtesy and rely upon supervising staff to resolve any further issues that may arise.

“Have a wonderful day and try not to be consumed by this situation.”

Cutter said Friday that “the situation has been dealt with appropriately,” but declined to elaborate, saying it was a personnel matter.


DIsclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned  -B

animal seizures and rescues are being conducted by a very sophisticated network of 

organized crime who have developed a very sophisticated scheme by which they are 

criminalizing longstanding animal and livestock owners; divesting them of

ownership of entire herds of livestock and commercially valuable animals.

all of it done at taxpayer expense and thru a highly developed scheme to collect


follow the animals…follow the money!!!


~ by topcatsroar on June 11, 2013.

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