Shelter manager sold cadavers for lab use
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:
VISALIA, Calif.–After an eight-day trial and two days of
deliberation, a Tulare County Superior Court jury on September 24,
2008 convicted former Tulare County Animal Control Shelter manager
William Harmon of two felony counts of accepting bribes, a felony
count of embezzlement and a misdemeanor charge of accepting an
“The jury found him not guilty of falsifying public
documents,” reported Brett Wilkison of the Visalia Times-Delta.
“The jury found Harmon accepted and requested restaurant gift
certificates from Michael Sargeant,” allegedly in exchange for
providing Sargeant with the remains of dogs killed at the shelter.
Sargeant’s business, Wholesale Biologicals of Bakersfield, sells
animal carcasses to laboratories. The transactions allegedly
occurred from 2002 through 2006.
Harmon faces a minimum of six years in prison and could be
sentenced to serve up to 12 years, under California sentencing
guidelines. Harmon also faces a separate trial in November 2008 on
animal cruelty charges.
Harmon, Sergeant, and another Tulare County shelter
employee, Ronn Cookson, were arrested in June 2007. The single
cruelty charge filed against Cookson was later dropped.
The case came to light, recounted Sarah Jiminez of the
Fresno Bee, after “kennel cards at Tulare County Animal Control
started disappearing. Animals were killed on the day of impoundment
despite a four- to-six-day holding requirement. Dogs designated for
adoption were killed. It seemed the shelter was killing more animals
than in previous years,” about 700 more cats and the same number of
dogs. “All the while,” Jiminez added, “trucks from Wholesale
Biologicals were collecting cat and dog cadavers, even though the
company’s expired contract related only to cats, according to court
Sergeant is to be tried in October 2008 for alleged bribery.