Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 24 September 2004 Issue
CHAP'S, Grassroots Akron Animals Group,
Unrelenting Efforts To Expose Akron Animal Shelter Abuses Has Resulted in Arrest
Background Chap information, http://www.saveourcats.orgGlenn James accused of stealing 12 vials of sedative from shelter
Fired dog warden faces drug charges
By Lisa A. Abraham
Beacon Journal staff writer
Summit County's former chief dog warden, Glenn James, is facing felony drug charges in connection with animal sedatives missing from the county shelter.
A Summit County grand jury has indicted James on charges of theft of drugs, illegal processing of drug documents and tampering with records.
The charges relate to 12 vials of the sedative drug Ketamine that could not be accounted for at the shelter.
The indictment follows a nine-month sheriff's investigation into alleged wrongdoing at the animal shelter.
Deputies were at James' home in Uniontown several times Wednesday afternoon and evening attempting to serve him with the indictment, but he was not home. James went to the sheriff's office on Thursday and picked up the papers. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. Aug. 25 before Common Pleas Magistrate John Shoemaker.
"Our intention is to appear at the arraignment and enter a not guilty plea to all charges,'' said James' attorney, Carmen Roberto.
County Executive James B. McCarthy fired James, 43, in January for insubordination and misuse of county property.
The firing came after McCarthy began looking into allegations of misdeeds at the shelter, ranging from record tampering on drug logs to animal abuse.
McCarthy called in the sheriff's department when allegations surfaced about missing controlled drugs used at the shelter.
Capt. Hylton Baker, commander of the Summit County Drug Unit, said a dozen 10-milliliter vials of Ketamine were determined to be missing.
Ketamine is an animal sedative that typically is used in conjunction with another drug to sedate wild animals.
Baker said when abused by humans, the drug produces a hallucinogenic effect. A 10-milliliter vial of Ketamine has a street value of $130 to $150, he said.
According to information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Web site, Ketamine is either injected as a liquid or cooked into a power and snorted like cocaine.
Known by the street names of K or Special K, it is considered a "club drug'' that has become popular at dance clubs and raves, and sometimes is used as a date rape drug, because its abuse can result in a loss of memory, according to the DEA site.
Baker said investigators were able to account for all other controlled drugs used at the shelter, including Fatal Plus, the drug used to euthanize animals.
"We went in and started looking at the Fatal Plus. We found they had Ketamine, and we mapped that out as well,'' Baker said.
James appeared before the grand jury last week. Roberto would not say whether James testified or invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Roberto said he was not surprised by the indictment.
"He is not guilty of any of the three counts.... I think that we're going to have a legitimate defense to present at the trial,'' Roberto said.
Since his firing, James retired on disability because of a back injury, Roberto said.
"One of the issues in this case is whether he would be using this drug, and what effects that would have on the body,'' he said.
Roberto said if James were abusing Ketamine with the prescription medication he takes, James could have ended up in a coma.
The theft charge against James, however, does not allege that he used the drug. ``Our investigation is basically that he (James) was in control of it, and he's responsible for it,'' Baker said. Attorney Christine Croce, director of administration for the sheriff's office, said poor record keeping at the shelter was one of the reasons the investigation lasted so long.
"Part of the problem is that there were no records regarding the purchase or use of Ketamine,'' Croce said. She said there were records to indicate the drug had been ordered but no records kept on its use.
Detectives had to trace how much had been ordered, how much could be accounted for and how much was missing.
"They had to back track, find the orders, when they were shipped and then investigate when it was used on animals,'' she said.
Through the course of the investigation, the sheriff's department called in the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, which did its own investigation and issued a report.
However, Croce said the contents of that report are part of the ongoing case against James.
Croce said the investigation was widespread and looked into allegations of wrongdoing from dogfighting to the theft of drugs.
The investigation did not determine who entered the shelter on Dec. 21 and disabled a video surveillance camera.
The person caught on tape used a key to enter the building, but then used a broom handle to strike the camera to disable it. The person who entered went into the office area and left after about 10 minutes, but nothing could be determined to have been taken.
Croce said the tape showed ``a shadow of a person,'' whom investigators were never able to identify, she said.
"We're hoping to let the justice system go from here,'' Croce said.
Baker, who testified before the grand jury, said he was satisfied with the indictments.
"We'll see what happens down the road,'' he said.
McCarthy said he didn't know what might come of the investigation but felt obliged to call in the sheriff's department when allegations surfaced dealing with controlled drugs.
"Now it's in their hands; it's out of mine,'' he said.
(Readers, Never Underestimate Your Own Power, You Too Can Succeed In Abolishing Animal Cruelty)
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