Officials say pig slaughter "condoned"

By: Meredith TerHaar Email
By: Meredith TerHaar Email

Panama City- There are new revelation coming out of the story that we broke last week, about a Bay County Animal Shelter worker who butchered a pig that was in the facility's care. Wednesday, shelter director Jim Crosby resigned over the incident, before county officials could fire him.

County officials released new information Thursday that was uncovered by an investigation launched by Mark Bowen, the Director of Bay County Emergency Services.

"I found that management condoned what occurred at a certain level in the organization. When that happens it does not take the responsibility from the employee that engaged in the act, but obviously it changes the dynamic of what the corrective action needs to be," said Bowen.

That explains, in-part, why the employee who actually slaughtered and ate the pig, Ivan Rogers, still has a job at the shelter. The pig, which shelter workers nicknamed "Fluffy," was turned over to the facility on June 10th. They said it had trouble getting along with their children.

Over the next several days, two people expressed interest in adopting "Fluffy." But on June 17th, Rogers took "Fluffy" home, butchered it, cooked it, and ate it.

Crosby reprimanded Rogers, but allowed him to keep his job. Crosby didn't report the incident to his bosses until August 6th. Bowen called the delay "unacceptable" and launched an investigation. This week he told Crosby he was recommending his termination. Wednesday Crosby resigned, effective Friday.

"When I realized there had been a culture allowed, at least in terms of this incident, that was completely unacceptable. Management has a responsibility, I have a responsibility, to make sure that things like this don't occur. If I don't know about it I can't fix it, so I have fixed it now I can assure you of that."

If Crosby created this culture, as Bowen calls it, did it foster an atmosphere for other incidents like the one? Bowen seems to indicate there were other issues, but isn't giving any details. "The action that was taken was specific to this incident. I don't have evidence that is hard enough to do an investigation about anything that may have happened 2 years ago or 4 years ago, it's hearsay."

Others who worked with Crosby say they're shocked, and that the county and the animals will be hurt by his absence. "It’s pretty surprising actually, Jim is a great ambassador for the animal community and it's a shame to see him go. The numbers speak for themselves. The euthanization rate in the county, I mean it's probably gone down 30% just because Jim uses outside resources to get animals adopted and transferred to rescues. He really does strive to keep animals alive," said Jeremiah McCulley, the general manager of the Humane Society of Bay County.

Crosby has been director of the animal shelter since February of 2008. County officials are launching a search for his successor.

Late Thursday afternoon Crosby sent a statement regarding his resignation. He writes: "In the past two and a half years Bay County Animal Control has cared for over 22,000 animals. Thousands have been adopted, and many more transferred to outside shelters or returned to their homes. This has been possible due to the tremendous support of the people of Bay County, and I thank them truly. I regret that this incident has caused embarrassment and distress. I sincerely hope that the efforts to date will not be sidetracked, and that those who have worked so hard to improve the lot of animals in Bay County will continue with the support of the public and the faith of the County Administration."

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