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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Complaints are mounting about problems at the Pender County Animal Shelter. Allegations include theft of county property, misuse of donated materials, abuse of animals and other misconduct.

County manager Mickey Duvall has requested the Sheriff’s Office investigate any potential wrongdoing at the shelter.

“There were allegations made that things were given to the shelter that are not at the shelter anymore. We’re just starting,” Sheriff Carson Smith said.

One volunteer called the Pender County Animal Shelter a “den of thieves.” A place a former shelter employee says workers can take as much food, medicine, supplies, bedding and household items as they want. “My biggest concern was the theft of county property. Basically, if it wasn’t nailed down it was a free for all,” Billie Whittenton, a former shelter employee said.

“Those are just allegations. Again, we’re going to try and go through and pick out allegations that possibly could be criminal and then look into them and that’s all we can do on the law enforcement side when it comes to this and it’s just going to take a little time,” Sheriff Carson Smith said.

Last week the shelter failed a state inspection. Among the violations, the report says cats were left in a trap for three days without a litter pan. “If you know what a trap looks, like it is specifically designed to trap an animal not to house it. It cannot turn around, it cannot move in a trap,” Whittenton said.

The inspection report also says there were 18 sick cats that had not received medical care that day.

Shelter manager Darlene Clewis wanted to go on camera and talk about the issues and accusations, but she needed approval from county manager Mickey Duvall to speak publicity. Duvall called us back late this afternoon and says he will talk on camera tomorrow.

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