Animal shelter director fired for euthanasia lie

Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 10:07:37-05

Executive Director of the West Valley Humane Society, Jonathan Perry, has been fired after a family pet was put down at the facility. 

Jonathan Perry was placed on unpaid administrative leave on February 16th stemming from an On Your Side investigation after a woman claimed the facility put her dog down unnecessarily and then told her that that the dog was adopted out.

When asked to make a statement, Perry said over the phone, "The staff and volunteers do a great job and I will continue to keep supporting them."

In an interview with Board President for the West Valley Humane Society, Brenda Cameron, she explained that after she saw the interview on TV she was angry.

She went onto say that the board conducted an investigation and confronted Jonathan about the issue.

"During the investigation, we discovered that he actually lied to the family. He went as so far as to make a fake phone call. When asked why did that, he didn't know," Cameron said.

"It's very disappointing. It's very tragic. We have policies and procedures in place that our director and staff were to follow when it comes to a lost animal. We do everything we can to reunite that animal with the family. Microchips help. Anything that we can identify the animal with. The owners did supply a picture but Bunny was actually an older dog with grey hair so that issue could have made things more difficult for volunteers or staff," Cameron explained.

The West Valley Human Society issued a statement on February 16th:

"The Board of Directors of the West Valley Humane Society along with its employees and volunteers are deeply saddened over Sheila Combs family’s loss of their beloved family dog, Bunny.

We understand that no words can ease the grief the Combs family is experiencing, however, we want to extend our sincerest condolences over this tragic situation. We also want to assure the Combs family, as well as the communities the shelter serves, that we are engaged in a thorough investigation into the incident.

We have procedures in place to do our very best to reunite lost pets with their owners. Until our investigation is complete our Director, Jonathan Perry will be on unpaid administrative leave. We humbly ask the community to keep in mind how much good work, by the dedicated employees and volunteers, does go on at the shelter 365- days of the year on behalf of the animals in need in Canyon County and surrounding areas. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding."

On Your Side first brought you the story of Sheila Combs and her family dog, Bunny, Friday, February 12th.

The dog was picked up as a stray without a collar and was not microchipped.

The shelter says they had the dog for a week and decided to put the dog down after it showed stroke or seizure-like symptoms for several days.

Combs had filed a missing pet report with the shelter and Perry told On Your Side on Friday a procedural error contributed to the incident.