• Officials: Animal control director investigated after anonymous letter

    By: Ken Lemon


    STATESVILLE, N.C. - The Iredell County Animal Control manager is on paid leave while the county investigates allegations she put down animals she shouldn't have and sold others for personal benefit.

    The investigation started after county leaders received an anonymous letter.

    The county manager said the move to put Animal Control Director Chris Royal on leave is not an indication of guilt. However, he said the anonymous letter complaining of inappropriate activities at the shelter was so detailed, the manager had to consider the possibility that it came from someone familiar with the department.

    Royal has a clean employment record. The county manager said Royal has had no major problems or complaints until the letter was mailed to Iredell County commissioners last week.

    "You hope that any allegations of this nature were untrue," said Commissioner Renee Griffith.

    Griffith did not want to give many details about the letter she received, but another commissioner said it accuses someone in animal control of seizing livestock and selling the animals.

    Royal is the only person in Animal Control on leave pending an investigation.

    An investigator said Royal euthanized animals she should not have and sold animals for personal benefit.

    The county is treading carefully.

    "People are skeptical of government anyway right now and we don't want to do anything to fuel the fire," Griffith said.

    The deputy county manager has taken the helm of Animal Control.

    He, the county manager and the human resources director are conducting the investigation.

    The county manager is not sure how long the investigation will take. He said when it is over he will present the finds to commissioners, but he will decide if Royal stays on the job.

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