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Racist Comments by Mississippi Critterz President Surface

By Alyssa Schnugg and Anna Grace Usery
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com, anna.grace.usery@hottytoddy.com
News Editor, Editor-in-Chief

A former employee of Mississippi Critterz, the organization that runs the Oxford animal shelter, claims the president of the organization is racist and has taken her fight to Facebook.

On Tuesday, Kit Smith posted screenshots of comments allegedly made by Gail Tidwell Brown, president of the board, a couple of years ago on her Facebook page.

In one such comment, Brown said she had a “high respect for the good, black true American population. I have no tolerance for n****** and white trash.” In another, she compared President Barack Obama to a monkey.

Screen capture from Kit Smith’s Facebook.

Though she recently received the post second-hand, Smith said Brown would often make discriminatory and racist remarks on Facebook during the time they worked together.

Smith joined the Mississippi Critterz organization on Nov. 20, 2018, but she quit Dec. 16.

Smith said when interracial couples would come in to adopt an animal, Brown would be reluctant to adopt out to them.

“She would say ‘I just don’t have a good feeling about them,’ or ‘I don’t want to adopt out to them,’” Smith said. “These remarks would never be about white people. They would always be about people of color.”

Smith said she decided to post the screenshots because people “needed to know what’s going on.”

“If the president (of Critterz) can be this blatantly racist, what else is wrong in the organization?” Smith said.

Mississippi Critterz was the only organization to submit an application to take over management of the shelter a year ago when the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society Board of Directors announced it would no longer run the shelter and would be, instead, focusing on providing local cost spaying and neutering for local cats and dogs.

Another group did originally submit a proposal but withdrew it from consideration.

Mississippi Critterz runs the shelter on McElroy Drive and provides animal control services to the city of Oxford. Both Lafayette County and Oxford provide funding to the shelter; however, the city pays more for the animal controls services since there are no leash laws in the county.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby said they received a packet recently with similar screenshots of comments made by Brown by an anonymous source.

“Let me start by saying, the post disgusts me,” Tannehill said Wednesday. “It demonstrates a lack of compassion and intelligence. I will not defend this discriminatory post.”

Tannehill explained that Brown is not an employee of the city of the Oxford.

“She is a member of a 501C3 organization that manages the Animal Shelter,” she said. “We have policies for city employees that indicate acceptable social media interactions and postings but as Ms. Brown is not an employee of the city of Oxford, these policies do not apply to her. Although unfortunate, it would be impossible for the City to monitor or regulate the social media posts and comments of its many thousands of private contractors from all over the city, state and nation.”

Busby echoed Tannehill’s comments and said it is up to the board of directors for MS Critterz as to whether or not they will keep Brown on the board.

“We didn’t know any of this when we were considering the contract (a year ago),” Busby said. “The contract is not with (Brown). The board, city or county may not renew the contract.”

“I do not condone those types of comments, not one bit do I condone them and I hope their board doesn’t either and removes her from the board,” Busby added.

Brown did not address the comments directly but sent a statement on behalf of MS Critterz:

“MS Critterz is adamant in pursuing our mission to provide temporary shelter to stray, abandoned, and surrendered animals for the purpose of finding permanent suitable homes, to promote spay/neuter, adoptions, to find foster homes, and to organize transports to reputable animal shelters/rescue groups. MS Critterz is nondiscriminatory on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.”

The contract between MS Critterz, Oxford and Lafayette County comes up for renewal at the end of September.

This is a developing story. Follow HottyToddy.com for more updates.

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