HAMMOND | A former employee of the Porter County Animal Shelter filed a civil suit in federal court this week claiming she was fired by the Porter County Commissioners for speaking out about animal abuse and neglect at the facility south of U.S. 30 on Ind. 2.
Rebecca Carroll, who worked at the shelter from March 1, 2010, to Dec. 9, 2011, said during November 2011 she reported instances of animal abuse and neglect to Porter County Commission President John Evans, R-North.
Evans failed to respond and Carroll said she reported the abuse and neglect to then-Interim Director Christina Montgomery, who also did nothing, according to the lawsuit.
Carroll said she also reported the problems to Porter County Council President Dan Whitten, D-at large, and the council held a public meeting regarding the shelter on Dec. 4, 2011.
Carroll said she was fired Dec. 9, 2011, for reasons she said were "baseless, unsubstantiated and not included in the Porter County Employee Handbook."
Porter County Attorney Betty Knight said she had not seen the lawsuit by Friday afternoon, but the county would be defending the firing as for proper legal cause.
Carroll claims in the suit she was fired for exercising her constitutional right to free speech. She said she had a duty as a shelter employee to report the abuse and neglect.
She said the alleged reasons for her firing are simply an attempt to mask the unlawful retaliation by the commissioners for her supplying information about the abuse and neglect to the County Council.
The six claims in the lawsuit seek an unspecified amount of money.