Officials investigate animal shelter after social media post bombarded with photos, claims of abuse

Published 11:51 am Friday, February 19, 2021

Mississippi law enforcement officials are investigating claims that a North Mississippi animal shelter was mistreating it animals.

The Oxford Police Department and Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department are investigating animal abuse claims made against Mississippi Critterz.

Mississppi Critterz manages the animal shelter in Oxford, but is contracted by both the City of Oxford and Lafayette County.

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Earlier this week, a photo circulated on social media of dogs in the shelter’s outdoor kennels during the first round of this week’s winter storm. The photo was taken on Sunday, though the shelter disputes claims that the dogs were kept outside during the storm for an extended period of time.

In the comments of the post, individuals claiming to be former employees and volunteers at the shelter posted photographs of animals that were allegedly mistreated while in custody of the shelter, including what one individual claimed were animal remains stored in trash bags inside a deep freezer.

On Feb. 17, formal complaints were filed with OPD and the sheriff’s department in reference to events and procedures associated with the animal shelter.

Complaints that were filed spanned over a two-year period between December 2018 to December 2020, according to OPD. The nature of the complaints were based on the overall treatment of animals, medical care, over-occupancy and disposal procedures.

Both agencies investigated the complaints on Wednesday and conducted an inspection of the shelter. The sheriff’s department and OPD  are planning to meet with officials from both the City of Oxford and Lafayette County, along with representatives for Mississippi Critterz, next week.

Both OPD and the sheriff’s department will continue following up to make sure the shelter group is following proper procedures and that animals are getting the best treatment possible.