HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. - A group in Hawkins County is letting their voice be heard by speaking for the voiceless -- they are accusing the Hawkins County Humane Society Animal Shelter of mistreating animals.
A group of people formed outside the Hawkins County Humane Society Animal Shelter for the vote of their new officers for 2014. "A lot of our new members that we've tried to get on board with us to support our efforts here have been told that they are not going to be able to be in the meeting," says board member Roni Vlemincks.
That's because the president of the humane society board says only 11 people are allowed inside the building, according to the state fire marshal.
People battled back and forth with the president, but eventually walked out and had a meeting of their own.
The group is upset because they say animals inside the shelter are being mistreated, based on things they claim to have seen and forms showing what animals weighed when they arrived at the shelter and their weight when they died. "Animals are not being taken care of properly, not being vetted properly, being euthanized improperly, and that is a definite concern of mine," adds Vlemincks.
Vlemincks isn't the only one accusing the shelter of mistreating the animals; board member Sue Pierce has the same opinion. "Kittens have been tossed into a box like they were nothing, from a third shelf up down into a paper box to be euthanized," she said.
We asked the president and vice president to talk with us about the allegations, but they refused to comment. They also would not allow us to see the animals.
Meanwhile, the group tells us they will continue to be the voice for the voiceless.
Board member Sue Pierce tells us she voted at the meeting, then decided to resign from her position because of the way the president treated other board members.
Again, neither the shelter president nor vice president would talk with us about the mistreatment claims.