35 animals euthanized at troubled Newport shelter, says vet

NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A veterinarian for the troubled Friends Animal Shelter in Newport confirms 21 dogs and 14 cats were euthanized the same day the shelter's former director was arrested for animal cruelty.

Dr. Larry Mangum, of the Appalachian Animal Hospital, told WVLT News some animals had mange and others had infections and were 'unadoptable'.

Mangum said 35 total animals were put down December 10, the same day Terry Starnes was charged with animal cruelty after images of a malnourished dog went viral on Facebook.

The shelter claims to be a 'no-kill' facility. According to their new director, Elisha Henry, up to 10% of animals can be euthanized for health concerns, and they can still keep a 'no-kill' status.

She told WVLT News parvovirus was to blame for several animals being put down, however she said she later found out that was not the case. Henry has not officially started in her position. She said her first day would be January 2.

Dr. Mangum also said he did not recall a parvovirus outbreak.

The Cocke County Sheriff confirmed that an investigation into the Friends Animal Shelter is ongoing and a nine-page report has been submitted to the District Attorney.

On Friday, Henry told WVLT News that two staff members are on probation because they worked under Starnes.

The sheriff said the findings of the report will be released at a later date.