ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A now-former volunteer at the Animal Welfare Department is accused of lying to people looking to adopt animals, harassing staff, and even killing a dog, according to a new report from the city’s Office of the Inspector General.
AWD said this volunteer was let go shortly before the investigation, but people in Albuquerque said they believe the department could’ve done more to get rid of this man sooner.
“If they would’ve had, like, better protocols, then this would’ve been completely avoided,” Selena Jurado of Albuquerque said.
The Office of the Inspector General investigated after getting tipped off about many incidents involving this volunteer over the course of several months. Staff told the investigator that the volunteer once took home a foster puppy without approval, left the puppy alone and it drowned in his pool.
In February, the report revealed he lied to a woman at Lucky Paws saying the animal would be euthanized if it wasn’t adopted that day. “I don’t think that’s fair. I think that’s kind of like bribing people in a way, but like, in a threatening way,” Jurado added.
The AWD director said this volunteer was removed from the program in mid-June. The report also determined that Animal Welfare should keep a better record of complaints and that volunteers should sign a liability waiver, which this volunteer never did.
In an emailed statement, Animal Welfare said the following:
We love our volunteers. We do conduct background checks and train our volunteers on everything from animal care to policies and procedures. Although it is extremely rare to ask someone to leave, after listening to concerned employees and reviewing emails it was clear this person just didn’t meet the high standards we set.-Desiree Cawley, Marketing Manager, Animal Welfare Department
The Animal Welfare Department did not answer KRQE News 13’s question about whether the department could have acted sooner to terminate the volunteer, who was alleged to have been reported to managers and directors multiple times under previous and current administrations.
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