Pronews 7 Investigates: Moving forward at Animal Control

Right now, the city of Amarillo is conducting its own internal investigation into Animal Control following a no-bill from a Randall County Grand Jury. Now that the criminal investigation is over, Pronews 7 was able to speak with civic leaders who were involved in the controversy about details that were previously unknown to the public.

The no-bill on charges of improper euthanasia from a Randall County Grand Jury means that criminal charges against the ex-directors of animal control are over, but the city is just beginning its own internal investigation.

The Humane Society is a separate organization that shares a facility with Animal Control. The Director of the Humane Society told Pronews 7 that when allegations of improper euthanasia came out that the director of Animal Control, Mike McGee, threatened Councilman Brian Eades.

â??Well I canâ??t repeat what he said on TV, but basically he said if he ever saw him coming out of a restaurant that he was going to kill him,â?? said Jena McFall of the Humane Society.

Councilman Eades told Pronews 7 that he had some longstanding concerns about Animal Control when the controversy broke, and that this may be why he was targeted.

â??I actually was notified that I should be careful because there had been a threat against me,â?? said Dr. Brian Eades.

This threat, along with all of the other allegations were submitted to a Randall County Grand Jury, but as the District Attorney told us, they did not proceed with the charges and indict those being investigated.

â??It wasnâ??t that there wasnâ??t any evidence, it was the Grand Jury that decided that this not the kind of case that we want a Randall County jury and courtroom to be spending our resources on prosecuting,â?? said District Attorney James Farren.

Sunny Hodge-Campbell, the President of the Animal Control Boardn said that it took a great deal of work to have the city take action, and listen to their suggestions.

â??I think initially had this board not continued to push and work to have the agendas that we had some say in and listen to the public, we would just be like the boards, but we didnâ??t stop,â?? said Sunny Hodge-Campbell.

Moving forward, Councilman Eades said heâ??s going to be more direct in his city business dealings with the City Manager to prevent this from ever happening again.

â??Iâ??m certainty going to be asking a lot more tough questions, and you see our job is to hire the City Manager, and the City Manager is to operate the various departments within the city,â?? said Councilman Eades. â??We have one contact point and thatâ??s the city manager, and Iâ??m going to be very careful to be very direct regarding the concerns I have,â??

Jena McFall, the Director of the Humane Society, agrees, and believes that the supervisors over Animal Control need to be held accountable.

â??I know in other industries the top person is considered to be responsible for the whole organization no matter what, and I think that you saying I didnâ??t know what was going on is not a valid excuse,â?? said Jena McFall. â??If youâ??re the director of an organization or a department itâ??s your responsibility to know whatâ??s going on and to know what your people are doing at all times.â??

Sunny Hodge-Campbell said that to move forward at Animal Control, itâ??s time to hold the Deputy City Manager for this mess.

â??Outside of animal control, somebody that can look through and look at Animal Control and see the issue was the deputy city manager Vicky Covey,â?? said Sunny Hodge-Campbell. â??She was the person overseeing the director and the assistant director of animal control.â?? â??Where was the oversight?â?? â??I know that the Mayor and the City Council have taken full responsibility but I still donâ??t feel like side of this has ever been addressed.â??