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Danville Area Humane Society Issues Press Release On Dangerous Altercation And False Negative Campaign – Mike Swanson

Last week the Danville Area Humane Society issued a press release after the conviction in court of an individual who came to the animal shelter in June of 2021 and had an altercation with staff over a missing dog. The situation was dangerous and this lady came close to running over the director of the Humane Society with her vehicle. She testified in court that she was worked up due to a false negative campaign, with online social media smears and a billboard located on highway 29, that was directed against the animal shelter in 2020 and 2021. Read the press release for more details here:

News Release

We just sent this news release out.

The Board of Directors of the Danville Area Humane Society are grateful to the Danville Police Department and the General District Court of Danville for providing protection and justice for its staff members.

On June 14, 2021, a resident of Danville visited the shelter to look for her dog, a male beagle, who had gone missing while the family was on vacation. She found the dog in a run, but refused to provide proof of ownership or proof of a current rabies vaccination.

The director, Paulette Dean, heard her shouting in the front lobby and went to investigate. The resident, Mallorie Patrick, continued to swear and threaten the employees with physical harm. She left the building with the dog and put him in her car. She rolled down the windows and the dog escaped. Shelter manager April Hogan and kennel attendant Kelsey Burnett went outside to catch the dog before he could run away. The secretary called the police for help.

Ms. Patrick attempted to push Burnett down a steep hill and then threatened Dean. Dean walked behind Patrick’s car, not knowing the shelter employees had already taken a picture of the license plate. Patrick got in the car, yelled at Dean to move or she would “run her over,” put the car in reverse, and stepped on the gas. Shelter employees testified in court that they “turned their heads so they wouldn’t see Paulette being killed.”

Dean testified during the trial that she was five weeks away from having her fourth hip replacement and believes that intervention from heaven alone saved her, since she was not able to move her legs quickly enough to get from behind the car.

She recalled that time slowed down, she seemed to look at things through a tunnel, and she thought that it had never occurred to her she would be killed by being hit by a car. The next thing she remembers is being about three inches from the side of the car. Patrick was found guilty of two counts of assault and battery, one count of failure to appear for her arraignment, and one count of using abusive language by Judge Robert Adams. She has to pay fines and court cost. She was sentenced to 90 days of jail, with all 90 being suspended on one count of assault and battery and six months of jail, with all but 30 days being suspended. She was also ordered not to return to the shelter and to never have any contact with Dean.

During her testimony and before the guilty verdicts were rendered, Patrick testified that she did not use swear words and the three staff members exaggerated what happened. She also said that she had heard the negative comments that had been made on-line about how all that the Danville Area Humane Society does is “kill dogs” and felt she needed to rescue her dog.

After the incident, Dean contacted Patrick’s mother and explained that the dog had been at the shelter long enough that he was now the property of DAHS. Patrick’s mother adopted the dog and after he was neutered, he went home.

In 2020 and 2021, DAHS was the subject of a campaign to force the policy to change to a limited admission shelter, rather than an open admission one. Our intake and euthanasia numbers were used to provide shock value while intentionally misrepresenting the facts. A billboard was erected and anonymous letters were sent to area businesses and supporters. The Board members expressed concerns about the mistruths stated in the letters.

Kathleen Contratto, Board president, said, “We were concerned for the staffs’ safety and our concerns were realized through this attack. We respectfully ask that the groups and individuals responsible for the negative campaign cease immediately.”

Dean agreed, saying, “Our words and thoughts become actions and in this case, the actions were very dangerous ones that could have led to tragic consequences. We can have a fair and honest debate about these difficult issues without resorting to hyperbole and outright fabrications.”

Dean continued, “We are so very grateful for the diligence of the Danville Police Department in continuing to search for Ms. Patrick and for the court system in providing justice and protection.”