MANATEE -- County officials are looking into allegations made by former Animal Services shelter manager Beth Lewis, who was fired last week, about operations at the shelter, according to Manatee County spokesman Nick Azzara.
Lewis, terminated effective July 15 for "failure to complete (her) probationary period in a satisfactory manner," said she wrote a letter, which has spread throughout the community through social media, detailing what she says are major problems with the county division and the "facts of my tenure as shelter manager at Manatee County Animal Services."
Lewis' first day was March 25.
County officials said they are looking into allegations Lewis made about the Palmetto shelter, 305 25th St. W., Palmetto, in her letter.
"A number of things were brought to the administration's attention this week and the county is looking into allegations and we will address if necessary," Azzara said Tuesday.
Problems Lewis said she experienced during less than four months as shelter manager include employees lying on time sheets, shelter staff shortages and improper vaccinations.
"I was undermined on every decision," Lewis wrote. "The first time I completed the time sheets, it was apparent that time was being stolen from the county by the employees. ... It was not honorable to forget that you called in sick a day then put on your time sheet that you had worked that day. It is not honorable to leave half a day for personal reasons and still put that you worked a complete shift."
Lewis said she tried to implement a system where shelter employees were required to sign in and out every day but was told she could not ask employees to sign in and out.
"Something I thought would be so simple for accountability and to protect the county turned into (more than) a month-long battle," Lewis said.
Another problem Lewis said she found included failure to give intake vaccinations when an animal entered the shelter, according to her letter. Lewis also said intake vaccinations were being premixed and she was told "they were good for 24 hours after they were mixed," when in fact it is "only good for 20 minutes."
"The response given to me was that they have tried it before and it was just too much work," she said. "Too much work? I thought that was what we were there for. ... Every time I questioned these issues, I was outcast more."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.