LAWRENCEVILLE -- Lt. Mary Lou Respess, the manager of Gwinnett County's animal shelter, is under internal investigation and has been reassigned.
Respess has been the leader of the shelter, run by Gwinnett County police, for more than four years after being appointed to replace Sammy Jeanes in 2007. She's now been temporarily reassigned during an internal affairs investigation by the police department.
The specific nature of the investigation is unclear.
"It's not an issue of care of the animals," police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith told the Daily Post. "It's strictly a personnel issue."
Another police spokesman said the department could not comment on the open investigation "per merit board rules and regulations."
An open records request filed March 7 by the Daily Post was temporarily denied. Police said that "material will not be available for public disclosure until 10 days after the investigation has been concluded."
As of Wednesday, the investigation was still open, Smith said.
Several members of the county's animal advisory council and recently formed animal task force said they did not know the reason behind the investigation. Kenneth Poe from the county's human resources department said there were no documents pertaining to the case in Respess' personnel file.
County spokesman Joe Sorenson was also unfamiliar with the investigation.
"Major Dan Bruno is now over the day-to-day operations of the (animal shelter)," he said. "I am not aware of any other details."
Bruno has been a major assigned to the police department's support operations division -- which oversees records, communications, property and evidence, facilities and animal welfare -- for more than a year, spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said.
Prior to that, he was an assistant chief until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began its 2010 investigation into a large quantity of missing drugs at the department. While GBI agents were never able to determine what exactly happened to the drugs, they did find the department had exercised poor supervision of the narcotics unit.
Bruno took a voluntary demotion, officials said at the time. Another officer, Maj. Bart Hulsey, retired before his own demotion took effect.