Healdton police chief steps down amid animal shelter controversy

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HEALDTON, OK -- The Healdton city manager says the police chief has stepped down and any stray animals will be taken to another shelter, until all the issues are resolved.

"Basically it's been months and months on end of trying to get someone to take care of these dogs, someone to feed them, someone to water them, someone to give them something to lay on," says Paige james.

James is one of several concerned Healdton residents who attended a city meeting Monday night, after seeing neglected dogs at the city's animal shelter.

City manager, Charles Clark says, "We tried to talk to the city several times about letting us help. They'd let us donate food. About half the time it'd stay sitting at the police department for weeks. We'd go to pay our water bill or something and see it still sitting there."

Clark claims he did not know the condition of the dogs until Monday night's city council meeting, and says the police department was in charge of the shelter.

"I found, despite we have a relatively new facility, no heat had ever been put in it and not only that but they were opening. The eight foot garage door was completely open and leaving them open through the coldest nights," said Clark.

Interim police chief, Jarod Barnes says, "There are allegations that there were some puppies that were frozen down at the pound. I'm unaware if those allegations are true or not right now. It is being investigated."

Jarod Barnes was appointed interim police chief Monday after the now former chief, Tim Woodruff, resigned on Friday. Clark says he suspended Woodruff on the 20th, following complaints from citizens regarding the mistreatment of the dogs at the shelter, among other concerns.

Clark said, "There was some things that had happened in fairly rapid succession and they had concerned me enough to where I felt it was warrant that I suspended and investigate."

"I can assure the citizens that this will never happen again. We are in contact with the individual that has offered to donate heat to the pound and provide us heat and other things needed," said Barnes.

Clark said, "When I'm thoroughly satisfied that we've dealt with any concern that we should have and we've got our animal control officer back, we'll open back up for business. In the mean time, if we pick animals up, we'll transport them to Ardmore."

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