Former animal shelter employee suing Wexford Sheriff

Kathy Dennis is suing the Wexford County Animal Shelter, Sheriff's Department, and the Sheriff himself.

A former worker who went public with allegations that the Wexford County Animal Shelter was improperly euthanizing animals is now suing the shelter, the sheriff's department and Sheriff Gary Finstrom.

According to court records, Kathy Dennis claims that her working hours at the shelter were reduced and that she was denied access to most parts of the shelter after taking her allegations to administrators and the sheriff.

The suit also claims the defendants violated provisions of the state's Whistle-Blower Protection Act when they discharged Dennis.

Dennis contacted UpNorthLive in January with concerns that the shelter is injecting animals directly into the hearts without first using a sedative. That practice is not recommended by the state.

The Wexford County Commissioners held a meeting to address the concerns in January.

In an overflowing meeting room, two very different stories were told; allegations of inhumane treatment of animals from former employees like Dennis, and other former employees who passionately deny them.

"I will never get those images out of my head," said Dennis.

Among the sea of opposing opinions, Gary Finstrom, the Wexford County Sheriff, appeared briefly.

"This is probably the most emotional issue that I've ever been involved in," said Finstrom.

Finstrom also agreed, if the accusations are indeed true, that something needs to be done. From personal stories -- bringing tears, to employees defending their treatment of animals, the decision as to what to do next now lies with the board. And While each side remains contradicting, all sides can agree, it's now a search for the truth.

"I love animals too much and someone had to be their voice," said Dennis. "I thank all of the brave people who have come forward that are putting their necks out there, telling the things that they were forced to see and do."

To see videos and interviews from the meetings, click here.

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