Valencia Co. deputies seize animal shelter records

Valencia County Animal Shelter

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) — There are new allegations that the Valencia County Animal Shelter could be missing money. The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office raided the county’s animal shelter on Thursday, taking boxes of evidence.

“We’d received some allegations of mishandling of some money,” said Captain Gary Hall with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department.

Hall says deputies seized financial records from the shelter’s Los Lunas building on Thursday morning. The records span from December 2013 to September 2014.

“They receive a lot of donations and money comes through there through the adoption of dogs,” said Hall.

The sheriff’s office says those records should cover every transaction the shelter has made from adoption fees to donations. However, according to allegations they’ve received, the shelter may not be documenting everything according to the county’s policies.

“Through our investigation we run on some situations that lead up to believe there may be some policy or procedure violations,” said Hall.

Captain Hall says that could include missing receipts for things like donations.

“Before, it was just clear plastic jar sitting on the counter,” said Hall of where the shelter used to keep donations.

The county says it will now require the shelter to put all money in a lock-box and to log it in single receipt book.

However, investigators don’t know if any of the shelter’s money is actually missing and it may be hard to ever figure that out because the record-keeping is so shoddy. The Sheriff’s Department says it’s not looking to file criminal charges against anyone at the shelter at this point. However, they say the search warrant is about preserving evidence in case they find any future indication of foul play.

“To me it looks like it’s just going to be more of a… making sure the paper trail is right,” said Hall.

The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office says the county has now hired an outside financial investigator to see if the shelter’s records match up.

News 13 reached out to the shelter’s director for comment on Thursday, but didn’t hear back.

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