GROVE, Okla. – Two Tulsa Humane Society representatives were ordered to appear before the state’s veterinary board for allegedly illegally euthanizing 11 dogs at a Grove no-kill shelter.
Gina Garner, Tulsa Humane Society president, and Lawrence DePriest, a veterinary assistant, were named in the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners complaint filed Oct. 30.
The hearing is set for Dec. 1 in Oklahoma City.
A message left at the Tulsa Humane Society office for Garner and Depriest was not returned.
Gardner and DePriest are accused of violating the Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act by unlawfully practicing veterinary medicine by administering euthanasia drugs without the direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian, the complaint states.
Gardner is also in violation by failing to enlist the services of a licensed veterinarian while handling euthanasia drugs and represented to the Second Chance Pet Rescue she had the authority to euthanize the dogs and for aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine by enlisting the services of DePriest knowing that he was not a licensed veterinarian.
At the time of the July 5 incident, the Grove shelter was under the direction of two interim managers who no longer work at the site. During the visit, Gardner instructed DePriest to euthanize 11 dogs unlawfully. The unlawful euthanasia was facilitated by unlawfully removing the drugs from the locked storage cabinet in Tulsa and unlawfully transporting the drugs to Grove, the complaint states.
The Second Chance Pet Rescue was under the impression the Tulsa Humane Society arrived at the overcrowded Grove shelter to assess the dogs, assist the interim managers, provide training and help with vaccinations for the animals.
Instead of assisting, Gardner and DePriest are accused of euthanizing a puppy and 10 dogs and taking 22 dogs to Tulsa for adoption, the complaint states.
Gardner told the state’s investigator the Grove facility was aware they would be euthanizing dogs and that the interim directors had the approval of the Grove board.
Garder and DePriest’s presence was troubling to the Grove staff due to the no-kill stance of the shelter, the complaint states.
A surveillance video of the Grove shelter caught DePriest administering sedation drugs to three dogs and the observation of an unattended drug box that contained controlled dangerous substances.
Witnesses reported seeing DePriest walking around with 11 to 12 syringes in his back pocket. DePriest and one of the former interim managers were observed to grab two dogs out of a kennel, give them each an injection in the backside, grab them by the scruff of their neck and tail and throw them back in the kennels and shut the door, the complaint states.
The two dogs began to foam at the mouth and fall on their side, the complaint states.
Witnesses told the state investigator they saw alive dogs being placed in plastic bags, animal cruelty, the manner and location of injection of Euthasol and other sedation drugs and Gardner injecting the dogs.
However because the location of the cameras limits the surveillance video, the investigator was unable to confirm witness allegations.
Cassie Owens, Second Chance Pet Rescue of Grand Lake Director, who replaced the interim managers referenced in the complaint said her top priority is focusing on the animals.
“My focus is on the safety, well-being and happiness of the animals in my care,” Owens said. “The best interests of the animals will always be my highest priority.”
“With the help of dedicated employees, volunteers and our community we are making a difference,” Owens said.
Owens said transparency with the community is essential and support from the community is necessary to care for the animals.
Second Chance Pet Rescue of Grand Lake is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on the support of Grove, she said.