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Former Dallas Animal Services Manager Tells His Side

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Tyrone McGill hopes to return to work this week in the city of Dallas Code Enforcement Department. The former director of the Dallas Animal Shelter was found not guilty of animal cruelty charges last week after a three-day trial and more than a year on paid leave. McGill told his side of the story to KERA's BJ Austin.

Tyrone McGill was accused of letting a cat die - trapped in a shelter wall for several days. Some employees claimed McGill was indifferent, and refused the let them cut a hole in the wall to try to rescue the cat.

McGill says he looked for the cat - even raised ceiling tiles and climbed up to try to spot it on several occasions.

McGill: I never heard or saw the cat. In fact, I don't think anyone ever actually saw the cat. If there was a cat in the wall and I had it to do all over again, I think the first thing I would do is call 9-1-1. Because even though I'd given instructions to put traps up there to try to catch the cat, the instructions weren't followed through.

A hole was eventually cut in the wall to remove the cat that had died and was creating quite an odor. McGill says cats can get into the shelter's ceiling and walls on at least one occasion. And he says they manage it more often than you would think. He says the former director of Animal Services advised against that sort of design.

McGill: And he knew if you put regular ceiling tiles up there that's an avenue for cats to get up in your ceiling. And I think they're going to change that, I really do.

McGill says he's ecstatic over his acquittal, and says this ordeal has been tough.

McGill: It was the most stressful period of my life, of my 61 years. And I'm a Vietnam veteran and it was more stressful that that. When someone charges you with something, and you know you're innocent, it's even worse. You're facing jail time.

McGill says he had to wait until trial to present the whole picture of what happened. He says he's grateful for his legal team and the jury's verdict. McGill says he's not the cold and cruel person the headlines made him out to be.

McGill: You know, I'm just an ordinary guy. I love my family, I love my church, and I love people and animals. I work hard. And I play golf hard. That's what I do. That's exactly what I do.

McGill says he also loves working for the city of Dallas and can't wait to get back.

Email BJ Austin