SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - Murray City and its police chief blew off an animal control officer's pleas for help after her boss "pulled the head off a live kitten," and abused her too, the woman claims in Federal Court. Dianna Johnson says her former boss, Cory Bowman, "exhibited cruel and abusive behavior" to her, to other women and to the animals they were supposed to care for.
Johnson says Bowman euthanized animals that she and the other workers "particularly liked, just to upset them," screamed at workers inches from their faces and directed racist comments at all of them.
She adds that Bowman "threw an animal carrier across the room at Ms. Johnson, missing her only because she jumped out of the way." And he abused animals in the shelter and on the streets, Johnson said.
She claims that Bowman "pulled the head off a live kitten ... sprayed dogs with Mace frequently, including one that was inside a fence, on its owner's property, because it barked at him ... [and] often tried to run over dogs that he was trying to catch (often with Ms. Johnson in the car, which further terrorized her)." (Parentheses in complaint.)
Johnson says she and her coworkers complained about Bowman to Murray City "many times," over the years, but nothing was done to stop his behavior. Animal control officers reported to the police chief, according to the complaint.
Johnson says that Police Chief Peter Fondaco reassigned her to the night shift in November 2009, when she returned from temporary leave for stress-related health problems caused by the harassment.
She says Bowman was demoted from his position as supervisor, but Murray City "refused to terminate Bowman, and Fondaco talked him out of voluntarily leaving his position," even though The Salt Lake Tribune had run a story on the abuse allegations.
"In March 2010, Bowman resigned because the Tribune was researching another story about his romantic relationship with a girl he met through coaching at her
high school," according to the complaint.
Johnson was fired in June this year when Murray City contracted with the City of West Jordan to take over the shelter's operations.
She demands damages for sexual discrimination, retaliation, and constitutional and procedural violations, from Murray City and Fondaco.
She is represented by April L. Hollingsworth.
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