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.


11 COMMENTS

  1. It is sad when a post is taken out of context, the statement was wrong to say but was said in 2014 after the riots in Ferguson. Ms Critterzs does adopt to any race which I have seen for myself while in the past the former shelter when they were down on hwy. 7 S. would not adopt to people of color period. The former shelter has done nothing but bash Ms. Critterzs since they got the contract with the city. They have saved so many animals lives . Raciest , no but before at the former group if they were a black cat or dog or a pit mix so many times got put down because they were black, now that is raciest.

    • Alyce Hale, Lois fought hard to start a shelter in Oxford, and then ran that shelter for many years. She is not racist. I took over after she left in 2000. I am not racist. None of our employees were racist. Neither Lois nor I would have tolerated racism in the shelter. We adopted to any suitable applicant. Race was never a factor. I hired black people. We had only one person who volunteered on a regular basis. He did a great job. One day he started telling racist jokes. I told him to leave and to not come back. I left the shelter December 1, 2002, and Cyd Dunlap took over. I don’t know if she is racist or not. If she and her crew are the ones you’re referring to as racist, please clarify that. I have never been accused of being racist before and your comment/accusation is very upsetting to me as I’m sure it would be to all who worked at the shelter under me and before me.

  2. What about our rights our constitution gives us Freedom of Speech???????????? The white people have negros too just like the blacks have negros too!!!!!!

  3. As a former employee at the old shelter, I’d just LOVE to know your evidence of your accusations. You say black animals and pits were euthanized simply for their color or breed? Maybe. Because black dogs and pits suffer the most for people’s refusal to spay and neuter. Statistically, black animals are very hard to place. Blame the community for not appreciating a good, loving black lab or kitty. Blame the community for allowing their pets to run rampant, producing more homeless furbabies. Blame the community, not the hard working shelter employees who go home at night and cry for the day’s euthanasia. I was there for three years, so I don’t know if you’re referring to any period of time I was there. That particular building was there for 15? years. But I know the work and emotional pain that goes into shelter work. I resent your statement that we were a racist, prejudiced group. For the record, my mother ran that shelter for a year and a half and she gave EVERYTHING she had, night and day, blood, sweat, and tears into the betterment of the shelter. She is a loving,fair, honest, firm woman. She is NOT racist. She would not have worked for racists. The director before her was not racist. Community involvement, lowering the euthanasia rate without compromising the integrity of the adoptions were some of my mother’s major accomplishments. So, yeah, your all-encompassing statement that we were racist is wrong and ridiculous.

  4. WTF are you people talking about? LOL! Black cats and dogs, tide pods, euthanasia, open carry, freedom of speech, and being “raciest”. I love it! This story has everything! More! More! More!

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