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Animal Shelter Director Under Investigation For Allegedly Killing Dogs Set To Be Rescued

STOCKTON (CBS13) - In a CBS13 exclusive, we told you about dogs at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter being euthanized after they were promised to rescue groups.

Now the woman once in charge is being investigated by police.

What Pat Claerbout was accused of in Sacramento is what she's being accused of now as the director of the Stockton Animal Shelter. The only difference now is police are getting involved.

The same allegations have followed Claerbout for years in Sacramento County and now at the Stockton Animal Shelter, allegedly killing dogs that could be alive today.

"Our department received several different types of complaints involving the animal shelter," said Officer Joe Silva, Stockton Police Department.

CBS13 learned Stockton police are now investigating the shelter's practices under Claerbout's leadership.

"Right now the entire animal shelter is being investigated to make sure the policies and procedures are being followed, and also to make sure the shelter is being ran in accordance with the law," said Silva.

Critics accuse Claerbout of breaking a state law that says dogs must be held for a certain amount of time before being put down.

One group, Central California Pets Alive, claims that 76 percent of dogs are killed illegally at Stockton's shelter.

"Rescues are critical of shelters that don't follow the law," said Jill Telfer, Sacramento attorney.

Telfer represents a former shelter employee who used to work side-by-side with Claerbout in Sacramento County.

Telfer believes Claerbout punished rescue groups that questioned her practices.

In fact, she's using a video in a lawsuit against Sacramento County that she says shows Claerbout holding a dog as it gets a lethal injection.

It was a dog killed the day before it was supposed to be adopted.

"It's horrible to see something die that you had a place for," Said Susan Wallace at Scooter's Pals, a dog rescue group.

Rescue groups believe this happens more than taxpayers know.

Although Claerbout confirmed with CBS13 over the phone that police have been investigating her for months, she refused repeated requests for an on-camera interview.

Despite getting Claerbout on the phone Thursday, she again refused to go on-camera to talk about these allegations, only pointing out that she'd increased adoption and rescue rates this year.

In October, after a months-long investigation into the shelter, police found laws were broken, but said it stood by Claerbout and refused to comment further on possible disciplinary action because it was a personnel matter.

Police say they made changes at the shelter, including opening on Saturdays so more pets can be adopted, holding animals for 72 hours before they can be put down, and upgrading the shelter's computer system to better track animals.

On April 30, 2015 Stockton Police Department spokesperson Ofc. Joseph Silva told us Claerbout was no longer employed by the city of Stockton.

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