County Humane Society, both on Newland Street, Shelly Hunter states
that she is "addressing the illegal, inhumane and unethical
practices" taking place at the shelter and the hospital.
The shelter has contracts with the cities of Costa Mesa and
Westminster to impound and care for their stray animals.
Samir Botros, the veterinarian and shelter owner, has consistently
denied the allegations. On Wednesday, he said the complaint, filed
Sept. 15, was yet another attempt by former volunteers to wage a
personal battle against him.
"If you come to my place and tell me how to run it, and I ask you
to leave, you're not going to be happy," he said. "The fact that
these people are attacking my business straight away shows that this
Some of the volunteers quit over differences with shelter staff
members in March. Botros disbanded the volunteer program on Aug. 30.
Former volunteers have since been protesting on and off outside the
shelter, demanding better veterinary care for the animals.
Several former volunteers also spoke up at Costa Mesa City Council
meetings. The city is looking into whether it should continue its
contract with the shelter or take its animals elsewhere. The results
of that investigation are pending.
But the complaint filed by Hunter includes a letter from Costa
Mesa resident Suzanne Bartholemy, who describes an episode at the
shelter in which she witnessed two unlicensed workers attempting to
euthanize a dog while repeatedly trying to jab its leg with a needle,
because they weren't able "to get the vein."
"I was sickened that this poor, doomed animal had to suffer
through this experimentation," she wrote. Bartholemy said she
reported this to the shelter manager, Cortney Dorney, who she said
seemed upset that the volunteer had witnessed the incident and
reacted by imposing new rules that volunteers must leave the shelter
by 5 p.m. and that they should not enter newly restricted areas.
Dorney responded to the volunteers' official complaint, contending
the volunteers interfered in shelter activities without knowledge or
"I've been a veterinary technician for eight years," she said. "I