Iredell Co. Stonewalls on Investigation, Resignation of Director

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by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty by Photographer Adam Stevens

STATESVILLE, N.C. - An anonymous letter, received by Iredell County leaders March 8th, outlines serious accusations against now ex-animal shelter director Chris Royal.  The county put Royal on paid leave and launched an investigation.  On April 5th, Royal resigned.

We asked the county to tell us why.  We were told her resignation is not pubic record.  We asked for the results of they county's investigation.  We were told the results are protected under the state public records law.  We asked county commissioners to weigh in on the issues plaguing the tax-payer funded department.  Marvin Norman did not reply. Stephen Johnson did not reply. David Boone did not reply.  Renee Griffith did not reply.  Kenneth Robertson did, to tell us he could not legally comment.         

One of the accusations in the letter is that Royal seized dozens of goats from Statesville resident Cindy Jacobs, sold them to slaughter and pocketed the cash.  Jacobs says, "We've thought about getting an attorney to see what our rights are."  Jacobs confirms officers started culling her herd in 2010 after a supposed complaint about their condition.  She says, "They (animal control) took 42 of them," and "Yes, [Chris Royal was present]."

Jacobs says officers came back two days later for ten more goats.  And then, "They took 14 of them on June 7, 2012," she says.

Of the more than 60 goats seized, Jacobs admits four did need hoof care.  When asked if anyone has every complained about her animals' condition before, Jacobs says, "No."

Jacobs has goats again.  Now she wants answers.  She says, "I would like the results of the investigation to be known to the people.  [It] needs to be transparent."

We asked Chris Royal to talk with us about the accusations against her and her decision to resign.  She has not replied.  We asked the interim shelter director and deputy county manager Tracy Jackson to talk with us.  He did not reply.

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