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Appomattox County officials changing shelter policy after WSET demands answers about "Sam"

Appomattox County Animal Shelter (county's website)
Appomattox County Animal Shelter (county's website)
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APPOMATTOX, Va. (WSET) - The Appomattox County Animal Shelter will not be open to the public on Wednesday and the county wrote that only employees of Appomattox County will be permitted to access the shelter until further notice.

A county spokesman said officials were very sorry for what happened at the shelter recently when a dog named Sam was euthanized. He said Sam was at the shelter for seven months, from February to September and called him "anti-social."

They said Sam became less-friendly as time went on. And they say the county in no way maliciously hurt Sam.

Through a preliminary investigation, county officials say there was no adoptive family set up to take Sam.

These statements have been thoroughly disputed by past and present shelter volunteers, one named Jean Wells, who took a video of Sam just three days before his death, gently taking a piece of cheese from her hand.

"This wasn't euthanasia, " said Wells, "this was murder."

The county spokesman said they made a mistake.

"Room at the shelter? No, as far as I know that is was four runs, that we made a mistake, it's simple as that. We apologize for it and we now have got a policy in place to correct it," said Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sam Carter.

Carter also said, that a text sent to one of the shelter staff on September 6th, regarding Sam's potential adopter coming to get him, was not confirmation of a firm adoption.

The shelter was shut down for one day, because it was reported that there were threats being called in to their phone.

A notice written on the county's website says "some issues have arisen concerning the operation of the Appomattox County Animal Shelter."

After consultation with the county attorney, county administrator, Susan Adams decided that the shelter should not be open for the day.

Appomattox County Attorney, J.G. Overstreet issued a statement concerning the shelter's closure:

On Friday, September 16, 2016, at the Appomattox County Animal Shelter the euthanasia of an animal occurred. Since then, this event has received extensive new media coverage and individuals have expressed concerns to County Officials.
The County considers the welfare and safety of the animals at its shelter to be a high priority. Accordingly, since Monday, September 19, 2016, the County Administrator has been actively investigating the details related to the euthanasia. Preliminarily, it appears that the matter was handled properly and in accordance with State law. Once the investigation is complete, the County Administrator will issue a Press Release as to her conclusion.

This comes after an investigation into a dog, Sam, that was euthanized even though several groups claim that there was a family waiting and willing to adopt him.

If you're wishing to adopt a pet, you can contact the Shelter at (434) 352-3103 to schedule an appointment.

There is also a notice saying:

The Appomattox County Animal Shelter can adopt directly to residents of Appomattox County as well as to residents of the following localities: Amherst County, Buckingham County, Campbell County, Charlotte County, Nelson County, Prince Edward County and the City of Lynchburg.
If you live elsewhere, please email for more information.

Some of the dogs were transferred to the Lynchburg Humane Society.

Count officials say that current animal warden, Micki Caifano, who has been on the job since July 1st, authorized Sam's euthanasia at the hands of a vet.

Carter told ABC 13 that the county is conducting an internal investigation into the matter and that "there will be corrections made."

As to what those will be, Carter would not comment specifically. However, Supervisor Sara Carter has told ABC 13 that if there were runs available in the shelter and no severe health or aggression issues, "there should be no reason that dog should be euthanized."

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A group of volunteers and citizens gathered around Mr. Carter, during his press statement, some getting visibly angry with the county's position. They also asked Sara Carter for permission to take Sam's body from the county to have it cremated and have a memorial made in his name outside of the county shelter.

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