Grand Jury: No evidence of animal abuse at Animal Control

Randall County DA James Farren announces the grand jury's decision in Amarillo's Animal Control case.

A Randall County Grand Jury has found no evidence of animal abuse at Amarillo's Animal Control after the recent investigation regarding allegations of improper euthanasia practices and animal cruelty.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Randall County District Attorney James Farren said no one was indicted in connection with the case.

"No specific evidence was found of physical harm to animals at the shelter," Farren said.

Though, he said the grand jury did find technical violations of needles being used more than once on animals, and no scale present at the city facility at the time of the investigation.

Farren said he didn't think Mike McGee's (former Animal Control Director) and Shannon Barlow's (former Animal Control Assistant Director) retirement had anything to do with the grand jury's decision.

Farren says he was surprised at the decision of no bill. The grand jury deliberated for more than an hour Wednesday over the case they have heard for the third time...."longest deliberation for a grand jury in a single case, I've seen in a while," Farren said.

Farren added, the city's quick response to all changes at the facility had an impact on the jury's decision.

In a press release, the City of Amarillo expressed its appreciation for the patience and cooperation shown by employees, investigators and citizens as the legal process ran its course:

"Operations at Animal Control move forward under the guidance of interim director Scott McDonald, as the search for a permanent animal control director takes place. The City continues to look at areas for improvement at the animal shelter with the goal of increasing adoptions and making the shelter a sanitary, comfortable place for animals. Improvements include operational changes and improvements to facilities, animal intake and care procedures, and employee training practices. An internal management review will be undertaken immediately to determine if here have been noncriminal violations of policies or procedures and to further assist in improving shelter operations."