Former Lawrence County Animal Shelter director files motion to halt adoption drive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Bobbie Taylor, the former director of the Lawrence County Animal Shelter, Friday filed a motion asking a judge to halt an ASPCA adoption drive scheduled for this weekend, according to court documents.

Taylor filed the motion asking  for a temporary injunction to stop this weekend’s adoption effort for the 250 animals remaining at the ASPCA temporary shelter. Her lawyer said Taylor wants returned to her seven personal pets that were seized, along with the other animals from the shelter.

"She's concerned about the rest of the animals in general," Taylor's attorney, William Diver, told WHNT News 19. "She's cared for those animals for years and years for Lawrence County and she's concerned the ASPCA is going to do a poor job."

The motion also alleges that Taylor signed over ownership of the animals illegally and under duress. She claims that the ASPCA and the Moulton Police Department threatened to break down her front door and use force against her to take the animals.

Taylor wants all 250 animals at the temporary shelter returned to her care and the adoption event canceled.

"Allow her to designate which rescues and everything these animals need to go to, as she was doing prior to all of this coming out and becoming an issue," said Diver. "The ASPCA is often brought in as a care-giving organization, but it's our belief that in this instance they're acting as anything but."

A Lawrence County judge denied the motion Friday evening and set a hearing for July 31. Taylor's lawyer immediately filed an amended motion stating that the adoption event will do "irreparable harm."

Meanwhile, the ASPCA noted that the organization was never served the paperwork. ASPCA Media Manager Kelly Krause told WHNT News 19 "the adoption event will start (Saturday), as planned. We're excited to get these animals into homes."

To read the full version of the original motion, click here. To learn more about the adoption event, click here.

Taylor, the former director of the Lawrence County Animal Shelter, was arrested on a total of 17 criminal charges stemming from her operation of an animal shelter at her home on Lawrence County Road 170.  Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter told WHNT News 19 she faces 16 counts of cruelty to an animal and one count of animal abuse. Each is a misdemeanor charge.

The ASPCA's Animal Cruelty Disaster Response vehicle arrived pulled up Wednesday morning, so the team can help with the effort of removing more than 250 animals. (Photo: David Schmidt/WHNT News 19)

The ASPCA's Animal Cruelty Disaster Response team helped remove more than 250 animals from Bobbie Taylor's home. (Photo: David Schmidt/WHNT News 19)

The charges stem from a joint investigation by Moulton Police and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after a former worker at the shelter shared a video with investigators and WHNT News 19 of Taylor allegedly abusing one of the dogs. Taylor denied the allegations claiming she was breaking up a fight between two animals when the video was secretly recorded.

The following day, Moulton Police visited the shelter and launched a criminal investigation into conditions there, notifying the ASPCA and asking for their assistance in that investigation. An ASPCA Disaster Response Team of approximately 28 workers and volunteers responded, spending days at Taylor’s home caring for the animals. A number of the dogs and cats died within days of the onset of the investigation. Several dead animals were found when ASPCA investigators first arrived at the scene.

The ASPCA established an emergency shelter at the Hillsboro Gin on Highway 20 in Lawrence County, and on July 3 began the 2-day process of removing 251 dogs and 49 cats from Taylor’s home to the emergency shelter. A mobile hospital was also brought in to continue to provide emergency medical care for the animals.

aspcaTaylor, in an exclusive interview with WHNT News 19, claimed she was the victim of a conspiracy involving at least two members of the Lawrence County Commission and other animal rights activists. She told us at that time she fully expected to be arrested but claimed she would eventually reveal the entire truth regarding how the allegations against her came about. Taylor told us many of the dogs and cats under her care were brought in sick, malnourished and in poor condition. While admitting conditions at her facility were not ideal, she claimed the animals were alive because of her, referring to the county’s previous arrangement to transport strays to a Morgan County shelter in Hartselle that routinely euthanizes animals approximately 7 days after their arrival.

Most of the animals under her care were kept in pens and cages outdoors, fully exposed to the elements.

Two days after WHNT News 19 first broke this story, the Lawrence County Commission met in emergency session and voted 3-to-2 to cancel an $80,000 per year contract with Taylor to provide and operate the shelter. The contract also required her to provide an animal control officer and required her to relocate the shelter to a more appropriate location within six months. Taylor claims her efforts to purchase a new location and relocate the facility were blocked by members of the county commission.