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Shelter volunteers fired after photo showing hot temps goes viral

Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 21:18:24-04

PHOENIX — Three volunteers at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control say they were fired after a photo showing triple digit temperatures inside the shelter went viral.

Erika Edmark says she, along with fellow volunteers Lorena and Jordan Bader, received an email saying they were being terminated from the shelter's volunteer program. They received the message two days after ABC15's story aired.

Jordan says she took some of the photos, but did not send them to the media. She instead, sent them to animal rescue groups.

"We're getting blamed saying we went to the media," she said.

The women say someone found out who was responsible, after private messages between them discussing the conditions were leaked to a staff member. They believe they were then terminated in retaliation.

"I am angry that there was no due process," Edmark said.

The women often post to social media asking people to adopt the dogs at the county animal shelter. Since they're no longer volunteers there, Edmark says hopes the dogs will still be able to find good homes.

"I worry the dogs will suffer in the future with out us being there," she said.

A county spokesman told ABC15 the volunteers were let go because of their own actions.

The spokesman sent ABC15 screen shots of the women speaking in a private Facebook chat. In it, the volunteers talk about bringing more temperature guns to the shelter to mess with county staff. They also make comments about a staff member. The spokesman says the women conspired to undermine the animal care operation and employees.

The women say they don't believe they should've been fired over conversations they had privately. They also say they only made those comments after they went to management about the heat and nothing was done.