Animal shelter director resigns after posting all animals would be euth’ed

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The director of the Fayette County Animal Shelter in Alabama resigned following a disturbing announcement on Facebook claiming all pets at the shelter would be euthanized on Christmas Eve if they were not adopted.

On Wednesday afternoon, the county commission voted 4 to 1 to accept Misti Bellar’s resignation. The shelter is temporarily closed to the public until January 10 giving the commission time to replace the only full-time employee. According to the TuscaloosaNews, the shelter had garnered emergency attention after Bellar posted on Monday that 22 dogs were listed as “code red” and any dogs still at the shelter by noon on Christmas Eve would be euthanized.

Bellar blamed the situation on the County Commission who posted a denial on Facebook stating that the order to kill the animals was not true:

We are receiving information that there is an article posted on a No Kill Coalition page saying all our pets will be euthanized at noon today. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Apparently it is a shelter in another Fayette County in another state, but we have not read the article and do not know the circumstances. We understand everyone’s concerns but this is NOT our shelter. If anyone has questions about our operations, the best source is to always contact us directly and speak to staff members. We are always happy to discuss our shelter and what we do. Thank you!”

On Wednesday, Commissioner Joe Acker stated Bellar resigned because she knows the commission never told her anything about euthanizing those animals. “Those dogs were not in danger of being euthanized,” Acker stated. Within 24 hours, however all of the pets were either adopted or moved to other shelters. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society rescued ten of the dogs and expressed their disappointment on their Facebook page about Bellar’s resignation.

“We were disappointed to see that the director of the Fayette Animal Shelter resigned today. When our staff visited the shelter to lend a helping hand, they saw a hardworking, passionate and caring person doing her very best for the animals in her care…”

The GBHS is asking for donations of food, towels, toys, blankets and money to help with the rescue. Click here to help.

Eight cats still remain at the shelter, and officials say they will be fed and cared for while the shelter is closed and until a replacement can be found for Bellar.

(Photos for animal shelter director resigns from  Fayette County Animal Shelter)

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12 replies
    • Denise says:

      I had shared this on Facebook and I really thiink it was true. I may be wrong but I knew some people who have been to this shelter a few years ago, perhaps before this woman took over and it was horrible. I saw pictures. The workers picked the dogs up by the collar to carry them to be put down. The woman who took the pics was banned from going there again. I personally saw the pics.

      I think the cat was finally let out of the bag and now the county is scrambling to cover it all up, but at least the dogs were rescued.

  1. linda says:

    Finding this story somewhat confusing, however, I’m happy that the dogs were either adopted or brought to other shelters. I hoping for the best for cats left behind.

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    Not a position she should be holding if she is ordering the demise of all the dogs in their care if not adopted by Christmas Eve. Someone is not telling the truth here, be it Bellar who states the commission gave her the order or the commission who says they did not. I just have to wonder why a director would state such a thing is she is seen as being “a hardworking, passionate and caring person doing her very best for the animals in her care” by the The Greater Birmingham Humane Society. I’m glad the dogs are safe.

    • 19thcenturylady says:

      I have no doubt the county commission ordered her to execute these animals and she felt she had no choice to go public. Unfortunately, when she did she signed her own pink slip. She made them look bad in the public’s eye. They back pedaled and lied (county commissioners excel at that) and in all likelihood demanded she resign. Now they will give the position to some low-life from the county motor pool who will execute every single animal at the seven day mark and none of them will get out of this shelter alive. Until ALL SHELTERS are in the hands of animal loving non-profits who are contracted by the county this will continue to happen. It was not her idea to execute the dogs. It was the county’s. She saved the dogs and lost her job.

  3. Dodi Marie Livergood says:

    Why did she feel she had to resign if she was stating the truth? Sometimes the truth isn’t pretty but if that is the situation she was in she needed to put the truth out there to get help. And it sounds like she genuinely cared about the animals fate which is more than I can say for a lot of shelter workers. so if this woman really cares about these animals I hope she reconsiders resigning, We need more caring people working in shelters not less.

  4. pennysdachshund says:

    If this lady ( who apparently other shelters indicated they had great respect for) is the only person there to care full time for all the dogs. that means 7 days a week x 24 hours Maybe this woman had some kind of emotional breakdown…That is a terrible responsibility ALONE!!!!

  5. Linda Szymoniak says:

    While the dogs at this shelter are NOT going to all be put down, it’s actually not uncommon for small shelters without staff to care for the animals over holidays to do just this. I guess nobody can take a few hours on Christmas to go in and clean runs and feed the dogs. There are some people who just don’t deserve to be around animals. I actually helped transport about 25 dogs one time that were coming from a shelter in KY – the ACO was leaving her part-time job at the shelter to take on a full-time job that she felt would let her help more animals. They were going to have 1-2 weeks without staff and the shelter was going to put down all dogs before closing for that 1-2 weeks. A wonderful shelter in NW Indiana took them all – what was supposed to be twelve dogs, was told to be 18 before I left to meet the other driver coming from KY, and ended up being 23. Most were puppies, but not tiny puppies. Wonderful dogs who went to a shelter where they were all adopted. However, the threat of killing them all was wrong. I’m sure something could have been arranged to get volunteers to care for them in that 1-2 weeks.

  6. S.S. says:

    ONE employee!! ONE….and who was to take care of those animals during Christmas?? Would those city council members be going in to scoop poop and feed animals/?? What do you think? ONE employee!!!!


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