A dispute between two opposing groups of a Brooksville animal shelter led to a locked fence and heightened emotions at the Hernando County SPCA Friday.
On one side was a group of former board members who resigned back in 2008, but returned Thursday, and took over, allegedly behind the backs of the current board.
"When I showed up yesterday morning, I found that our padlock had been taken off and a new lock was put on and locked from the inside, and I couldn't get in," said Karen Rooney, a veterinary technician.
For two days, it's believed they didn't allow current board members or staff to enter the building.
Former board president Michelle McCabe says people pleaded for her return.
"I got a call from a few of the lifetime members telling me what has been going on out here, begged me to see if I could round up some of the other board members and come back up here and clean up the mess," McCabe said.
They claim sick animals were neglected, regular employees posed as veterinary technicians, and people were paid against SPCA rules.
The current board denies any wrongdoing.
"Everything is running fine, we have events planned, the animals are fine," said Hernando County SPCA treasurer Wendy Porter.
The standoff ended only after an injunction was issued by a local judge.
Hernando County Sheriff's deputies were on hand to escort the former board off the premises. Once back inside, the current board says they were robbed.
"They've stolen half of our food and all the vaccines," Porter said.
They say they plan on reporting the missing items to the police.
But through it all they say they're happy to be back in the building where they say they belong.
"I'm ecstatic, we have to ensure that this kind of craziness never happens again," Porter said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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