MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A former Memphis Animal Services worker is going to prison for two years for hanging and choking dogs in his care. A judge just handed down the sentence for Archie Elliot. Another former shelter employee facing similar charges, Frank Lightfoot, will spend 20 days in prison. Lightfoot will also be on probation for 23 months and was ordered to serve 60 hours of community service.
The sentencing hearing lasted all day Tuesday, with the most compelling testimony from the undercover police officer who uncovered the brutality going on at the shelter last year.
The former MAS workers had nothing to say as they walked into court.
But the undercover officer described how time after time Archie Elliot and Frank Lightfoot brutally killed animals by choking dogs and stabbing them in the heart with needles. The officer also described what happened to a cat that had been given a euthanasia drug by Lightfoot but didn't die fast enough.
"He stepped on the cat with both feet until the cat defecated and urinated on the floor and then the cat surely appeared to be deceased."
The officer testified both men knew how to properly euthanize the animals but didn't, and tried to hide the brutality from others.
"They always made sure the door was closed if anyone was ever coming they would straighten up, they would make sure they were doing everything in line the way they were supposed to do it… Mr. Elliot's demeanor was usually always very relaxed or lazy, if you would, he just really didn't want to be there and any attempt from doing his job function he would always look for the easy way to him."
The former employees pled guilty to multiple aggravated animal cruelty charges.
Animal advocates like Cindy Sanders watching it unfold in court say what happened to those animals were even worse than they imagined.
"I think it represented an even more shocking picture of what was going on at the shelter," said Sanders. "It's a level of depravity and sadism that has no place business being around elderly, children, animals, anything."