Indiana Shelter Director Told Staff to Freeze Cats to Death

  • by: Laura G
  • recipient: Dan Wilkinson, Spencer County Prosecuting Attorney

Euthanizing an animal by freezing it to death is considered unacceptable and inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Yet that's how some cats were killed at the Spencer County Animal Shelter in Indiana, according to former employee Bridgett Woodson.

She says the shelter's director, Christina Payne, told her to put a live kitten inside a plastic bag, then put it in the freezer. Woodson refused to do it. Another time, Payne told her to put a kitten that had been hit by a car in the freezer. Again, Woodson refused to do so and instead took the kitten to a veterinarian to have it humanely euthanized. She complained to the Spencer County Animal Control Board, but nothing was done.

Woodson wasn't the only shelter staff member told to do such a cruel thing. As the Spencer County Sheriff's Office began its investigation, witnesses came forward confirming that cats had been frozen to death. In one case, four live kittens were put in the freezer. One former employee said a Spencer County Animal Control Board member admitted during a meeting that she put a live cat in the freezer when she was the shelter's director.

The attorney for the Animal Control Board issued a statement saying the shelter had changed its policies and procedures "to address those unacceptable actions," but didn't elaborate on what those changes are.

This disturbing case has been turned over to Indiana state police — yet Payne continues to work at the shelter.

As Woodson has said, the animals at the Spencer County Animal Shelter deserve much better than this. For the animals' safety and justice for the cats that suffered painful and inhumane deaths, Payne and the board member who froze a cat need to be held accountable.

Please sign and share this petition urging the Spencer County Prosecuting Attorney to fire them both immediately and charge them with animal cruelty.

Update #14 years ago
Huge update: the Spencer County Animal Control Board voted to close down this shelter and remove its director. However, there will be no animal cruelty charges as of yet. So there is still work to be done. Kittens were purportedly killed in an inhumane way and we can't just let that slide.
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