Montgomery County, Texas – September 20, 2018: Montgomery County Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson and Deputy Director Mark Wysocki have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.
The animal shelter officials are being investigated by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly falsifying government records.
The allegations of record tampering stemmed from an incident on Aug. 20 when Montgomery County Animal Control transported 77 cats and dogs to the shelter. The senior Veterinary Medicine Doctor at the Animal Shelter, Dr. Jordan Gentry, left the facility after Johnson and Wysocki ordered all the animals to be euthanized without being evaluated by a veterinarian. The animals had earlier been confiscated from an elderly lady who consented to have them euthanized.
Dr. Gentry returned the work the following day on Aug. 21 and discovered that his name had been placed on 68 pages of euthanasia records as the evaluating veterinarian. He asked Wysocki to remove his name from the records. His request was later granted.
The Montgomery County Animal Shelter claims to have a 90 percent live release rate which is also being questioned. None of the animals which were euthanized on Aug. 20 were counted towards the shelter kill rate.
“In order for shelters to call themselves a no-kill shelter they must have a 90 percent live release rate,” said Montgomery County attorney Eric Yollick while explaining why the shelter would want to have a high live release rate.
We reached out to Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack for comment and received the following statement.
“As a matter of employment practices we do not comment on internal and or criminal investigations involving employees,” Noack wrote. “Due to the serious nature of credible information, two employees have been suspended, with pay, pending the outcome of an internal (criminal) investigation. There is no further comment on this issue.”
Under the Texas Penal Code, it is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail if a person does one of the following:
- Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record;
- Makes presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record;
- Intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record.
Yollick, who is renowned county watchdog, expects that one or both of the suspended employees could lose their jobs.
“It sure looks that way and is a high likelihood,” said Yollick. “That’s what should happen.”
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