'Just put it in the freezer': Former employee at Indiana animal shelter says management asked her to freeze cats alive
The incident came to light after Bridget Woodson took to Facebook to write about her experience at Spencer Country Animal Shelter
A former employee at an animal shelter in Indiana has said that the institution's management had asked her to kill sick or injured cats by putting them into a freezer alive, according to reports. The former employee, Bridget Woodson, said that she worked with the Spencer County Animal Shelter in Chrisney for three and a half months and was asked to freeze sick cats to death on two separate occasions during her work period, local news station WEVV reported.
Woodson said that she did not oblige the shelter's management and refused to kill the cats on both occasions, according to reports. An investigation into the allegations was opened by the Spencer County Sheriff's Office, however, they eventually handed over the case to the state in an attempt to prevent conflict of interest.
Detective Chris King of the sheriff’s office, while talking to Tristate Homepage, however, said that they concluded the shelter did kill animals by freezing them alive in at least two instances. King said their conclusion was based on several witness reports and that on one of these occasions, at least four kittens were frozen to death.
The Spencer County Animal Control Board, which oversees the particular animal shelter in the region, released a statement to local news outlets and admitted that certain "actions have occurred that are fundamentally opposed to that mission."
The statement released to 14 News, said that the board, in response to the allegations, has "carefully reviewed its policies and has adopted new policies and procedures to address these unacceptable actions."
The incident came to light after Woodson took to Facebook to write about her experience at the shelter and said that her last day was August 11. Reports state that she had not spoken about the incidents before because she was afraid of retaliation from the shelter's management.
While talking to WEVV, Woodson said that when she was asked to kill the cats, she felt "sick to her stomach." She was reportedly was asked to stuff the live cats inside trash bags with no sedation and then put them in the freezer.
She added that the first time she was asked to freeze an injured cat to death, her boss had also given her an option to take the feline to a vet to euthanized there. She chose the second option.
However, the second time her boss simply asked her to put a live cat into the freezer without any other alternatives. She reportedly refused and said that she would take the cat to the vet instead and told the shelter they could take the cost out of her paycheck, if necessary, reports state.
She even posted a screenshot of a text conversation with her boss on Facebook, where her boss replied with: "That’s fine but so you know, the freezer option is no less humane."
The American Veterinary Association’s euthanasia guidelines for companion animals state that hypothermia is an "unacceptable method," HuffPost reported.
Woodson, however, does not want the shelter to be shut down because "it is the only shelter resource in this town and for many surrounding towns." She says she wants to see an overhaul in the shelter's policies instead.