Curt Harrell resigned as the manager of Gwinnett’s animal shelter in October. (Facebook photo)

Ex-Gwinnett shelter manager loses appeal in wrongful euthanasia case

The now-former manager of Gwinnett County’s animal shelter lost an appeal tied to his criminal convictionfor euthanizing a court-protected dog.

Curt Harrell, who unexpectedly resigned as the shelter’s manager in October, was found guilty in March of criminal contempt of court and ordered to pay a $500 fine. The charge was related to the death of a dog named Ricki, which Harrell ordered to be put down before a court order protecting it had expired

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Gwinnett resident Lisa Musser had filed a lawsuit in an attempt to adopt Ricki, who had been deemed dangerous by shelter staff. 

Harrell appealed his conviction to the Georgia Court of Appeals, arguing that he was following legal advice when the dog was killed. That appeals court returned Friday a judgment upholding the Gwinnett court’s original findings. 

“The guy made a mistake, the issue was did he do it on purpose,” Musser’s attorney, Ed Furr, said Tuesday. “The Superior Court judge said ‘yes’ and the Court of Appeals said ‘amen.’

The reason behind Harrell’s resignation has remained unclear. Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said the county was “still in the hiring process” of finding a full-time replacement to run the animal shelter.

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