Director of Humane Society breaks silence about allegations

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Reporter- Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — Thursday morning, time ticks slowly by as Shirley Grimes waits. The phone is silent. So, too, are the kennels at the McCracken County Humane Society.

"I don't like to think about that. It's sad. The dogs aren't barking," she said.

In fact, there are just two dogs as boarders and a few cages of cats.

"Its just like a bad dream, a real bad nightmare and I can't believe it's happening."

She is speaking out nearly two months after troubling allegations and video surfaced, video of what investigators called unsanitary conditions and inhumane euthanizations at the shelter.

In response, the county yanked its funding, stopped dropping off animals and arrested two employees on criminal charges.

For years, Grimes fought to save animals, even went to court to prosecute animal abusers.

"I've been in the courtroom many, many times when I was younger."

Now, it's her once-trusted staff members that are in the courtroom. On Thursday, both Beau Anderson and Dalena Hall were in district court.

Anderson had been let go from his duties as a euthanization specialist at the Humane Society and had previously entered a not guilty plea. But on Thursday, his attorney asked for more time to prepare for an upcoming trial. Kevin Olsen said he planned to enter a "myriad of motions" but declined to go into detail.

Hall, a 23-year employee at the shelter, is still employed. Lawyer Jeremy Ian Smith entered a not guilty plea on her behalf, saying he was eager to see this case go to trial.

Grimes, 82, did not attend Thursday. She said it was too tough.

"I was so angry but it was over the phone I heard about it. The detective called me at home," she explained of learning of the allegations.

Grimes said she did not know what was going on at the shelter and does not want to think about it.

"It's hurtful. Its broken my heart," she said, her eyes welling with tears.

She will retire Jan. 16 after a 33-year tenure.

Anderson and Hall are due back in court Feb. 9. That is when a trial date will likely be set. Todd Jones with the county attorney's office said he expects the trial to wrap up in one day.

If convicted, each could face up to one year in jail and up to a $500 fine.

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