Posted: 6/21/19 at 10:33 a.m.
Updated: 6/22/19 at 11:50 a.m.
A statement given this week by the Marion County District Attorney’s office to witnesses at the June 14 Grand Jury session indicates no charges will be brought against Caroline Wedding and the other operators of Dixie Human Society Shelter.
Charges will also not be pursued against some who may have entered the property off SH 49 despite police warning tapes.
More than 70 dogs were rescued in November and December by local volunteers at the shelter amid charges of neglect and abuse.
Following an investigation, Jefferson Police Chief Gary Amburn said violations of the law had occurred at the shelter and referred the matter to the district attorney’s office. District Attorney Angela Smoak presented the evidence to the Marion County Grand Jury.
“On June 14, 2019, a Marion County Grand Jury spent all day listening to the testimony of 13 witnesses, including those who faced potential criminal charges relating to the operation and eventual closure of the Dixie Humane Society in Jefferson, Texas,” the statement from Smoak read.
“When the facility closed, over 70 dogs were housed there in what were alleged to be inhumane conditions which sparked media coverage and calls from some members of the community for charges to be pursued for animal cruelty,” Smoak continued. “ At the end of a long day and after review of testimony from 13 witnesses and additional evidence, the Grand jury found insufficient evidence to charge the operator of the facility or others who were facing potential criminal trespass or tampering with evidence charges.”
Smoak noted the dogs have since been placed with other facilities or individuals by community volunteers “who responded quickly after the facility closed.”
“This verdict comes as no surprise,” Christie Woodson, who lamented Smoak limited her testimony to the alleged trespassing, said. “None of us were asked about a single dog. Not one dog. Angie (Smoak) never said the words dog, abuse, freezer of dead animals or anything relevant to the true crime.”
Complete coverage on the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict the persons involved in the Dixie Shelter collapse will be in the June 27 issue of the Jimplecute.
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