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BURGAW, NC (ANDY PETTIGREW W/ THE POST & VOICE) — Strong accusations of misconduct by Pender County Animal Shelter employees were brought before county commissioners Monday. A group of shelter volunteers, lead by Greg Campbell of Hampstead, brought allegations of theft of county property, misuse of materials donated to the shelter, abuse of animals, and other misconduct. Campbell, who said he had been involved in animal welfare issues for more than 30 years in the Chicago and Charlotte areas, laid the responsibility for the misconduct at the feet of shelter manager Darlene Clewis. Clewis was present at the commissioners meeting, but did not speak to the board or answer any of the allegations. Volunteers were also upset after attending the required orientation for shelter volunteers, but had not been called to help at the shelter. Several shelter volunteers spoke to commissioners, accusing shelter employees of stealing animal food that had been donated, blankets, towels, tarps, and a washer and dryer. Employees were accused of not properly taking care of the animals, mishandling cash donations to the shelter, and not working while being paid. One volunteer called the shelter a “den of thieves.” Campbell asked the commissioners to take reasonability for the situation at the shelter. “We knew where we stood with the Sheriff’s Department. Their priority was animal control, not the shelter,” Campbell said. Shelter operation has been under the supervision of the county manager’s office for the past several months. County manager Mickey Duvall said he had taken steps to put policies in place at the shelter and a discussion of policies and procedures was on the Feb. 19 commissioners meeting agenda. County Information Technology Services director Erik Harvey told the board his department was working on security for the shelter at the direction of Duvall, including cameras and electronic locks to monitor the building and grounds. Commissioners were disturbed by the accusations of misconduct and theft. Chairman George Brown asked Sheriff Carson Smith about investigating the accusations. “It may be possible I can bring in another agency to do it for us. I don’t think I can investigate anything that will come up with an answer that will make them happy,” Smith said. “There is the possibility that some criminal activity could have taken place out there. If there is anything concrete, I think it needs to be looked into. There is no way I can really respond to all this.” Commissioner Jimmy Tate expressed a desire to move ahead and fix the problem. “Where do we go as a board from here? Either the manager’s office can manage the shelter or they can’t and we need to admit that and move it to someone who can. I’m tired of revisiting this issue,” Tate said. “There is no resolution. It seems to be getting worse.” Duvall said he took the shelter under his management by request of the board. But the demands of his office would not allow this to be a permanent solution. “I said I would be happy to set some policies and guidelines but eventually we would have to move it because of my work on the budget,” Duvall said. “We have had the shelter about two months.” Duvall said progress has been made with plans for a shelter advisory board and the security upgrades at the shelter. The five-member advisory board will consist of a commissioner, a veterinarian, the county health department director, a local animal rights advocate, and a citizen at large.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest757

    I hope WWAY keeps this story going. Charges have to be coming…
    This is disgusting!!!!

    They should lock them up in a cage!!!!

    They need to see jail time…

  • truthseeker

    Pender County with their Sheriff’s Office, Animal Control. Is the entire county crooked and inept? Someone needs to get control of this county and root out the corruption and dirty politics

  • GuestX

    Pender County 30 yrs behind in all aspects.Drunk badly trained crooked cops,crooked animal control,Commissioners who sell out their community,not to mention magistrates and the who don’t know how to do their jobs or what their authority is and the list goes on……

  • Kenny

    This sounds like sour grapes from this Campbell guy. Tell Him he’s not in Chicago anymore………and his volunteer services are no longer needed.

  • guest11111

    I wouldn’t trust anything THAT man says….

  • ChefnSurf

    The bestest, very most smartest way to fix any potential local problem within a community is to dump it on someone who didn’t live his whole life right here. How could a big city slicker have any idea on how things get done here (like maybe someone stealing stuff from a shelter)? Nothing that happens here could ever happen anywhere else on our planet so he couldn’t possibly know what he’s talking about. Another bestest, most smartest thing you can do is make sure he can’t volunteer anymore, then there won’t even be a problem to talk about. We sure don’t need any volunteers who weren’t actually born here, that’s for sure! That’ll just ruin it for everyone else (all a them volunteers who just aint got around to volunteering yet)! “Out of sight … Out of mind.” Yep, that sure is the way to go!

    Problem solved! The bestest, very most smartest idea ever!


  • Vog46

    The problems at the Pender shelter go far beyond over worked employees or lack of funding.
    On the surface it appears as though Pender doesn’t want an animal shelter – as problems have surfaced while under both the Sheriff and the County Managers control.
    Commissioner Tate is right it’s a problem that everyone is sick of hearing about and dealing with.
    But when you couple this with the Pender Sheriffs office problems you get the impression that perhaps NH County should annex Pender……what a mess….


  • frustrated

    An animal shelter is only as good as the county that supports it…these are animals that the people of this county did not want or did not take care of…shame on the residents, the accused, and the county…as a community we are all to blame. Unfortunatly these employees are stuck with the horrible task of doing what noone wants to think about…deciding the fate of unwanted animals. I know, I have been a volunteer before..

  • Guest1948

    we in pender have our problems,but people who live in new hanover needs to straighten your own crooked county before dumping on pender-includes your sheriff dept-police dept-mayor for life safo-and his comissioners-cfpu dumping raw sewage in our water ways ect. so to small mide people like vog shut up and straighen your own county out

  • ChefnSurf

    ….. “so to small mide people like vog shut up” and “people who live in new hanover needs to straighten your own crooked county”.

    Stop being an ignorant fool (in so many ways at the same time). Wrongdoing doesn’t have a county line; it’s simply wrongdoing.


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