Image: The Montgomery County Animal Shelter faces major troubles once again.
Conroe, September 18 – The Montgomery County government suspended Montgomery County Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson and Deputy Director Mark Wysocki with pay as a result of “substantial criminal evidence” uncovered during the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office investigation of record tampering alleged to have occurred on or about August 20, 2018. The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, uncovered the major story, which no other media outlet has covered, in “BREAKING NEWS! Records Of 68 Euthanized Animals Falsified, Then Tampered After Confrontation Over Animal Shelter Killing Spree,” The Golden Hammer, August 23, 2018.
Four sources inside the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to this newspaper last night that the Sheriff’s Office disclosed “substantial criminal evidence” to Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner and members of his staff during a meeting yesterday morning about the ongoing criminal investigation. The four sources requested anonymity. Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack declined comment, although he did confirm the suspensions. Sheriff Rand Henderson did not return calls.
The criminal investigation began after this newspaper broke two stories about the circumstances on August 21 and August 23, respectively.
During the suspensions, renowned veterinarian Jordan Gentry, the senior veterinary doctor at the Shelter, and Animal Control Director Joseph Guidry will jointly manage the operations of the Shelter. Neither Gentry nor Guidry returned telephone calls for comments.
This very serious situation began at the Animal Shelter on Monday, August 20, 2018, when Johnson and Wysocki ordered the euthanasia of over seventy-seven (77) animals whom Montgomery County Animal Control had brought in from the property of an elderly lady who hadn’t taken good care of the dogs and cats and who signed a request to euthanize them. Please see “Breaking News! Montgomery County Animal Shelter Euthanizes 27 Dogs, 50+ Kittens, Cats Monday Without Veterinary Evaluation: Is It Mercy Or Lebensraum?” The Golden Hammer, August 21, 2018.
Johnson and Wysocki ordered the euthanasia without veterinary evaluations of any of the animals. The Golden Hammer confirmed that the two veterinary technicians whom Johnson and Wysocki ordered to perform the killings directly disobeyed orders with respect to several of the animals, which were in good health, not feral, and not aggressive. Ultimately sixty-eight (68) animals lost their lives at the Animal Shelter rather than the full group of animals whom Johnson and Wysocki had sought to euthanize.
Jordan Gentry, D.V.M., the senior Veterinary Medicine Doctor at the Animal Shelter openly objected to the euthanasia, particularly without medical evaluations, and left the Shelter in protest during the day on Monday, according to several Shelter employees who confirmed the incident. On Tuesday, August 21, however, Dr. Gentry returned to work in order to perform the veterinary surgeries he regularly does as the Senior Veterinarian.
Gentry discovered something which greatly disturbed him, according to the many employees who witnessed the incident. Johnson or Wysocki or someone else under their direction had placed Gentry’s named as the evaluating veterinarian on sixty-eight (68) pages of euthanasia records entered into the “Chameleon” software system at the Shelter, according to several Montgomery County Animal Shelter employees who spoke with The Golden Hammer on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
Gentry confronted Wysocki early Tuesday morning and told Wysocki words to the effect that the veterinary records were false and demanded that Wysocki remove Gentry’s name from them. Later in the afternoon, Wysocki removed Gentry’s name and left blank the evaluating veterinarian shown for making the veterinary medical determination that euthanasia was the appropriate procedure for the sixty-eight (68) animals.
Under the Texas Penal Code, Section 37.10, a person commits a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail, if he
- Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record;
- Makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record; or
- Intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record.
Montgomery County Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson did return this newspaper’s call inquiring about this situation on August 22. At first, Johnson said that “it didn’t happen” but then explained that he only was referring to his contention that he – Johnson – did not place Dr. Gentry’s name on the records. At that point in the interview, this newspaper asked Johnson whether someone else put Dr. Gentry’s name on the records to which the Director answered “maybe but it’s been removed.” The Publisher of this newspaper explained to Johnson that there are hard copies of the medical records from the Chameleon database with Dr. Gentry’s name on them. Johnson claimed that he doesn’t know who put Gentry’s name on the records as the evaluating veterinarian but that Dr. Gentry’s name is “no longer there.”
The hard copies are now in the hands of the Sheriff’s Office investigators in the Public Integrity Unit of Sheriff Henderson’s Office.