• Lake Co. Animal Services director fired after animals killed


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The newly hired director of Lake County Animal Services was fired after it was discovered that euthanasia was not being used as a last resort.

    Jacquelyn Johnston was hired on October 1 and she's accused of not doing enough to get animals adopted first.

    According to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, which recently took over the animal services division, Johnston euthanized 18 dogs and two cats in one day.

    "Some of which were sick and injured and aggressive, but there were some in there that could have been adopted," said Lt. John Herrell, with the Sheriff's Office.

    Authorities said a tip about the euthanized animals led to Johnston's termination. She was on a one-year probationary period.

    "That's a lot. If you think about it, seems like a lot for one day," said resident Nicholas Bond.

    In the nine days that Johnston worked with animal services, authorities said a total of 147 animals were killed at the facility. Sheriff's Office officials said they made it clear that the top priority was finding homes for the animals.

    "They wanted to establish this facility to the greatest extent possible as a no-kill shelter for those animals that are adoptable," said Herrell.

    Johnston had previous experience with several other animal shelters and organizations. Officials said they had expected her to exercise better judgement.

    "She made a bad call and euthanized some dogs that could have made good pets for people. That's why we took the action we did, to make sure something like this doesn't happen again," said Herrell.

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