A former Crowley Animal Shelter employee is under arrest for animal cruelty. 50-year-old Michael Edwards was let go from his position with the shelter on Tuesday. He was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of animal cruelty, five counts of obstruction of justice and one count of malfeasance in office. He's accused of improperly disposing of dogs at the shelter.
Crime tape surrounds the Crowley Animal Shelter after eight dogs were found dead behind the facility. Crowley Police say five were already deceased. Chief K.P. Gibson said, “There were five dogs being held at the animal shelter in storage area in freezer that were part of evidence from a dog fighting ring.”
But the other three were being held at the shelter and no paperwork indicates they were ever released, which leads Mayor Greg Jones to believe the worst. “(The dogs were) killed and then mutilated possibly.”
Jones says the man arrested, Michael Edwards, was let go of his position on Tuesday for repeatedly failing to follow paperwork procedures. And on Tuesday night, the facility was broken into, which led to the alarming discovery. “We knew we had a problem, but we didn't know it was more than procedural until again, he went in and tampered with what was at that point dead animals from a dog fighting ring,” said Jones.
Police say it's unclear if Edwards was involved in the fighting ring. But, they do know there are more than just those eight animals. “(He) disposed of probably 10-20 dogs not in proper means of euthanasia,” said Gibson. “Some (were) in the city, but majority just outside the city, so we're working with the Sheriff's Office to get an exact count.”
But this isn't the first time the shelter has come under scrutiny. Last December, there were allegations handlers weren't properly feeding the animals. Since then, a new director has taken over and led the shelter in a new direction. “I would hate this to set back a program we've started making improvements on because one individual is allegedly sick,” said Jones.