HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Three officials with Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary are facing several misdemeanor charges.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln went through documents filed by Henry County Solicitor General Pamela Bettis.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary president Shelly Lackly and two other employees are facing multiple animal cruelty charges.
“These charges tell me they’re running a criminal enterprise as it relates to the health and wellbeing of the animals at Noah’s Ark,” said state Sen. Emmanuel Jones.
Jones said the employees were charged after several citations against Noah’s Ark were ignored.
“These kinds of actions are unprecedented,” Jones said.
Court documents reveal Lackly is being charged with cruelty to animals and reckless conduct, stemming from three separate cases.
The court alleges that she failed to provide food, water, and sanitary conditions to several animals.
Vice President Jay Allen and employee Alicia Bozeman each face eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty stemming from a July visit by investigators.
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Noah’s Ark sent Channel 2 Action News a statement, saying:
“These are not new allegations. All of our animals enjoy constant care of professional veterinarians. We anticipate the current charges will be dropped as we respond to each of them through the legal process. From our view, this is yet another attempt by former team members or their supporters to distract from our important mission. We will not be deterred in our mission to provide a forever home for animals in need.”
For more than a year Channel 2 Action News has reported on protests surrounding Lackly’s leadership.
The sanctuary has dealt with a bird flu outbreak, high turnover, federal lawsuits, animal bites and most recently, an escaped bear.
Jones said the state has no authority to remove Lackly from her position.
“When it comes to criminal charges, state charges, you can’t shield yourself from those kinds of activities,” Jones said.
If convicted, each misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison.
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