Houston & Peach

GBI asked to investigate Warner Robins animal shelter

The Warner Robins Animal Control shelter is under investigation by the GBI following a complaint by a county animal control officer.
The Warner Robins Animal Control shelter is under investigation by the GBI following a complaint by a county animal control officer. wcrenshaw@macon.com

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of animal cruelty at the Warner Robins Animal Control shelter.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Office asked the GBI to take on the case after a complaint by a county animal control officer. The county contracts with the city to keep animals at the shelter.

The animal control officer who filed the complaint Friday is Samantha Okalani. The narrative on the incident report was brief and did not give specifics on the allegations.

It said Okalani “advised she was wanting to file a complaint regarding multiple incidents of animal cruelty she witnessed being conducted by employees of the city of Warner Robins Animal Control. The incidents had been observed from May 2, 2017 until the time the report was filed.”

There was no further description of what Okalani is alleging.

Okalani told The Telegraph she learned Tuesday that the GBI had been asked to investigate. She also said the GBI had asked her not to discuss the allegations with reporters until agents interview her, which is supposed to happen soon.

Okalanie’s attorney, Tamara Feliciano, of Atlanta, also said the GBI had asked her not to comment for now.

The Warner Robins Police Department operates the animal shelter. Police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson said in an email that she could not comment on the allegation because it is a pending investigation.

“However, we are confident that the investigation will reveal the truth,” she said. “We also stand behind our employees.”

J.T. Ricketson, the special agent in charge of the Perry GBI office, confirmed in an email that the agency had been asked to “look into some allegations of possible animal cruelty at an animal shelter in Houston County.”

The complaint came a week after the city shelter euthanized 61 dogs and cats on Oct. 20.

Parson said in a statement, responding to what she said were rumors about the deaths, that the kills included 38 feral cats that were unadoptable and one sick cat, plus 22 dogs, 10 of which were considered vicious and five that had kennel cough.

She said the shelter normally does euthanasias weekly due to the large number of animals taken in, but had not done any in two weeks.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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