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Bastrop Shelter Director Fighting Allegations She's Putting Animals At Risk
Bastrop's embattled animal control director is speaking out about some serious allegations made against her.
Several volunteers claim Diane Mollaghan has mismanaged the shelter, putting the animals' lives at risk.
The battle between the director and some of the volunteers has been brewing for months. At the center of the struggle are innocent animals. Both sides believe they know what's best for them and the fight is getting dirty.
Mollaghan feels trapped within her own facility. Pinned between the animals she was hired to protect and the volunteers who feel protective of them.
"They basically boycotted the shelter and started a smear campaign," says Mollaghan. She's been on the job for less than four months and is at odds with a group of volunteers who claim she is mismanaging the shelter.
"I think communication has been a big problem," says volunteer Suzy Swingle.
So much so, that the vocal volunteers took their concerns to county commissioners, who sided with Mollaghan.
"We didn't feel that our new director had a chance to set up her own plan for this facility," says Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape.
Until that new plan is in place, commissioners voted unanimously to temporarily ban volunteers from the shelter.
Swingle claims the animals are suffering. "There have been a few adoptable animals that have been euthanized when kennel space is available," she says.
According to county documents, less than 10 percent of the shelter's dogs and cats were put to sleep in January. And Mollaghan stands behind those stats.
Then there's the allegations that some of the animals are living in filth. Which Mollaghan denies.
We were given unrestricted access to the kennels and found animals to be in good health and living in clean cages.
Mollaghan maintains she's willing to give all of the volunteers another chance -- once those new guidelines are in place.
Swingle believes a mediator could help resolve the differences but commissioners don't seem open to that proposal - at least for now.
Mollaghan has to submit her new volunteer contract to the court for review on February 1. Until that is approved, volunteers will not be allowed back inside the shelter.
By Alex Boyer