Not Guilty: Former Dallas Animal Shelter Manager
By BJ Austin, KERA News
Dallas, TX – The former manager of the Dallas Animal Shelter is "not guilty" of animal cruelty. A jury returned that verdict Thursday. KERA's BJ Austin says the outcome stunned one longtime animal welfare activist.
Jonnie England, with the Metroplex Animal Coalition, says she was quite surprised by the not guilty verdict for 61 year old Tyrone McGill. He was accused of allowing a cat to die - trapped for days inside a wall of the Animal Shelter.
England: I thought that there was good evidence, plenty of evidence. With the addition of the option to convict him of a misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty, I really thought that's what they would do.
McGill testified he never heard the cat scratching and never had evidence it was trapped. He denied employees' assertions that he refused to allow a hole to be cut in the wall to free the cat.
England says there IS something good to come out of all this.
England: It finally caused top management at Dallas City Hall to sit up and take notice that there were major, major problems at Dallas Animal Services and they had to do something to correct it.
England says the city acted immediately, installing a great interim director and hiring a new manager that has improved the culture and care at the shelter. She also says she's been assured that if McGill returns to work at the city, it will not be in Animal Services.
McGill has been on paid leave since August 2010. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.