Animal Welfare associate director on leave amid probe
February 19, 2018 11:15 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Albuquerque Animal Welfare Associate Director Deb Brinkley is on administrative leave amid an investigation into the department, according to city spokespeople.
The reasons surrounding Brinkley's leave are unclear. A spokesperson for interim Animal Welfare Director John Soladay said the city cannot comment on personnel issues and can only confirm her leave.
City public records that 4 Investigates obtained reveal that Brinkley transferred 28 City of Albuquerque dogs to her non-profit DMK Rehoming in Aurora, Colorado, over a nine-month period.
IRS non-profit records reveal that DMK Rehoming is owned and run by Brinkley, though Brinkley reported no compensation to the IRS for the tax year 2015. According to DMK Rehoming’s website, puppies are $250 to adopt and dogs can cost anywhere from $175 to $50 to adopt.
Albuquerque adoption fees are waived for animals that are transferred to nonprofits under the guise that the nonprofit is helping the city get rid of animals that otherwise would be difficult to adopt out.
However, Colorado Department of Agriculture spokesperson Christi Lightcap told 4 Investigates that DMK Rehoming failed to renew its Pet Animal Care Facilities Act license, or animal shelter license, in March 2017, one month after Brinkley accepted a position with the City of Albuquerque. Lightcap said the State of Colorado is now investigating the nonprofit for potentially operating an unlicensed rescue.
Between April 7 and Dec. 17 of last year, city records reveal that dogs were still being transferred to DMK Rehoming after its Colorado shelter license expired. DMK Rehoming's website, as well as Brinkley's Instagram posts, suggests she has held several adoption events months after her PACFA licensed expired in Colorado.
Brinkley, former Animal Welfare Director Paul Caster and the department are currently being sued in the Second Judicial District Court by two Animal Welfare Department employees for alleged "gross mismanagement, waste of funds and abuse of authority." The employees also allege the managers adopted out dangerous dogs that should have been on the euthanasia list. Caster resigned in December 2017 amid the allegations.
Brinkley remained on the city’s payroll until after 4 Investigates notified the City of Albuquerque of the dog transfers to the unlicensed Colorado shelter. She was put on leave in January 2018.
4 Investigates requested an on-camera interview with the City of Animal Welfare Department or Mayor Tim Keller's office. A spokesperson for the mayor told KOB-TV that no interviews will be granted by the mayor’s office until a press conference is held later this week.
Updated: February 19, 2018 11:15 PM
Created: February 19, 2018 06:19 PM
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