County puts limits on 3 residents over alleged animal shelter issues

sampsoncountyCLINTON, NC – Three citizens were recently notified they are not welcome at the Sampson County Animal Shelter without at least a week’s notice and preapproval by the shelter director, following allegations of verbal abuse of county employees, charges one resident said were “trumped up” and completely false.

A letter from Sampson County attorney Annette Chancy Starling, dated April 26, was sent to Lindsay Peterson in response to alleged actions at the Sampson County Animal Shelter a week earlier “and other occasions over the past year.” Two other letters were also sent out to local animal welfare advocates, each threatening permanent bans should problems persist.

On April 19, Starling stated in the letter, shelter staff reported that Peterson visited the shelter when it was not open to the public, yelled and cursed at shelter employees and volunteers and would not leave the shelter after being asked to do so several times.

“After this encounter, a shelter volunteer was so upset that he had to leave and was not able to return that day,” Starling stated. “Sampson County is hereby putting you on notice that this type of behavior has continued too long and will no longer be tolerated at the shelter. Sampson County has a responsibility to its staff, volunteers and citizens to insure a safe and harassment-free environment at the shelter.”

Two female residents received similar notifications, one for getting into a heated exchange with staff over the treatment of animals and another for allegedly pushing her way into the shelter when it was closed. Their letters mirrored the one sent to Peterson, who was the only one who agreed to go on record about the incident.

In each of the three letters from the county, Starling stated they were prohibited from visiting the shelter without prior approval from shelter director Alan Canady, notification to whom had to be given a week in advance.

Starling laid out several actions that would bring a ban, to include going in any areas of the shelter not open to the public; harassing shelter staff, volunteers and/or citizens visiting the shelter; and shouting, talking loudly or harshly to shelter staff, volunteers or citizens visiting the shelter. More: Chris Berendt, Staff Writer/The Sampson Independent

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