MEMPHIS, TN – Memphis Mayor A C Wharton hopes animal cruelty charges against shelter employee Demetria Hogan won’t give the city’s Second Chance Program a bad name. The program places convicted felons in jobs within city government and participating companies.
Hogan, who works as an animal control officer at the city pound, has an extensive criminal history. Her arrest record includes charges for theft, passing bad checks, burglary and identity theft. She's now charged with two counts of animal cruelty in the case of Kapone, an 11-year-old pit bull that went missing while in Hogan's care.
“I hope folks do not use this to indict the Second Chance Program,” Mayor Wharton tells abc24.com.
Hogan picked up Kapone and another dog named Jersey last month, after both escaped their Cordova backyard. Hogan says she took both dogs to the shelter, but according to Memphis Police, video surveillance shows Kapone was never brought inside the building.
abc24.com asked Mayor Wharton to comment on Hogan's situation.
“When you are on the public payroll," he says, "what you do is magnified. We don’t want to do anything to prejudice the case because we are serious about it.”
Mayor Wharton says despite the charges against Hogan, and the controversy surrounding her second chance hire, the city will continue with the program.
“If a person commits a crime and pays their dues," he says, "we live in a second chance society."
Hogan is now suspended with pay. She makes her first court appearance on Thursday, July 14, 2011.