Souder terminated at shelter

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Grant County’s Animal Control Officer has been relieved of his duties.

Judge-Executive Darrell Link told Jeremy Souder that he was being terminated on June 6.

Souder had been employed as the director of the animal shelter since 2005. His termination, according to Link, was due to the fact that procedures concerning use of inmates at the shelter had been violated.

“Inmates were not being supervised like they should have been,” Link said. “I appreciate the service he provided the county. He was a good worker, but there are policies for how inmates are supervised and they must be followed.”

Deputy Mike Garvey began an investigation at the animal shelter on Barnes Road in Williamstown after jail deputies alerted the sheriff’s department that inmates broke rules by having cell phones, contraceptives and illegal substances hidden at the shelter where five to six of them worked daily taking care of the animals.

Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills said he presented information to Commonwealth Attorney James Crawford who opted not to file criminal charges.

“He (Souder) was an excellent animal control officer,” Dills said. “He was quick to respond when we called for him. It appears that the problem was a procedural issue in how the Class D prisoners were managed.”

The contraband was discovered May 26 and the inmates were pulled from the facility.

Souder of Williamstown cooperated with the investigation and up until the day he was terminated worked at the facility.

He also made contact with rescue groups in other states and delivered animals to their facilities so that there would be less to care for in Grant County until the situation was resolved.

“It was something that I cared about,” Souder said. “The one thing that I hope is that whoever takes it over will keep it on the path that I started it on.”

Brent Caldwell, who has worked for the county at the Grant County Detention Center and the road department, has been named interim director.

Link said applications are being accepted. The starting salary is $12.31 per hour.

George Bruce, the part-time shelter employee, resigned after Souder was terminated.