Investigator To Look Into Deaths At Escambia Animal Shelter
March 21, 2014
An investigation is being launched into animal deaths at the Escambia County Animal Shelter.
Sharyn Berg of Cantonment, co-founder of a group called Escambia Animal Activists, told the Escambia County Commission that an unusually large number of animals had died from surgical complications during the tenure of the last veterinarian at the shelter, Dr. Alphonso Steward.
“Animals died while he was at the shelter through routine spay and neuter surgery. There were handfuls of other issues with his surgeries that had to be fixed by him and other vets,” she said, claiming that 10 animals had died under Steward’s surgical care in the last three months. She also alleged that Steward’s hiring process was inappropriate.
Interim Escambia County Administrator Larry Newsom said the county is bringing in an independent, third party veterinarian from out of town to look at the animal deaths, and the county will look into any issues with the hiring of Steward.
Last August, Director of Animal Services Delfi Messinger resigned due to pubic outcry after a family dog was mistakenly euthanized. A second dog was mistakenly put down in October, a month before newly hired veterinarian Dr. Melissa Adkison resigned. Steward resigned last month.
In an interview with the Pensacola Independent News, Steward blamed animal deaths on shelter staff and claimed staff members were involved in a social media campaign to tarnish his reputation. To read that interview, click here.