Indicted Shelter Workers Have History of Violations

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


  • Three indicted animal shelter workers have a history of violations
  • The infractions range from poor cleaning to wrongful euthanasia
  • One worker had been suspended twice, each time for ten days

(Memphis)     One week after three former Memphis Animal Shelter workers were indicted for animal cruelty charges, we are getting a look inside their city personnel files which show a history of violations.

Archie Elliott III, Frank Lightfoot, Jr., and Billy Stewart are all behind bars for animal cruelty after an undercover police sting found that they were abusive toward the shelter animals. 

While authorities have not detailed the abuse, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said in a news conference, “It’s easy enough for a second grader to know that somebody ought to get in trouble.”

The former employees’ personnel files show they were in trouble in the past.  Archie Elliott III got in trouble twice for failing to verify paperwork that lead to the wrongful euthanization of a Pit Bull/Boxer mix in 2007 and a Pit Bull in 2009.

Documents also show Elliott was told to remove seven Golden Retriever puppies from the euthanasia hallway because a rescue group wanted them.  Elliott failed to do that and the puppies were wrongfully put to sleep.

“The puppies is actually the most disturbing part of this,” said Community Action for Animals founder Cindy Sanders.  “He should have been fired on the spot.”

Frank Lightfoot was suspended in 2008 for failing to verify paperwork that lead to the wrongful euthanization of a Border Collie/Chow mix.

And, Billy Stewart was cited for failing to verify paperwork that lead to the wrongful euthanasia of a Rottweiler being held due to an eviction. 

Stewart was also suspended for ten days in 2008 for failing to adequately clean the cat and puppy room, leaving the animals in, according to the paperwork, “deplorable conditions.”  He was again suspended for ten days in 2009 for improperly cleaning a cage leaving a terrier puppy soaking wet, and “shivering and shaking.”

“A ten day suspension prompts termination for me.  If you’re suspended one time and you do it again, you’re fired,” Sanders said.

Sanders also questions a lapse in write-ups.  The employees’ infractions all date from 2007-2009.  They were arrested in 2012, leaving a three-year gap.

“The employees went from being very bad, to absolutely nothing, and then to jail.  I think there’s a big part of this puzzle that’s left out,” Sanders said.

News Channel 3 asked the city if the men should have been fired before the recent arrests.  The city responded with the following statement:  “Progressive discipline calls for a verbal warning, written warning, suspension and termination.  However, an employee could have multiple suspensions without termination.”