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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Former director back in jail

Sunday, August 22, 2010

(Photo)
Mike Sorrels
The former Clay County Humane Society director was back in custody again on separate theft allegations Friday afternoon.

According to information provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Mike Sorrels, 27, Brazil, was taken into custody on a warrant issued from Clay Circuit Court.

Although details are limited, officials confirmed the class D theft charge is the result of a separate investigation into misappropriation in payroll funds at the CCHS.

Jail officials confirmed Sorrels was in custody Saturday, facing a $7,000 cash bond (with 10 percent allowed) while awaiting formal arraignment next week.

However, it is not the only legal trouble for Sorrels.

Sorrels is facing other charges based on an investigation into various incidents from March 24-June 29, particularly the unauthorized release of 16 dogs from the shelter on May 11.

Appearing in Clay Circuit Court July 6, Sorrels was charged with class D felony obstruction of justice, class D felony official misconduct, class D felony theft and two counts of class A misdemeanors, including false informing/reporting, and deception.

A jury trial for this matter is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18.


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As a former employee of the CCHS,I feel I must clear the air for those of you who are not familiar with the story of Mr. Sorrels. Mike was not the director of the CCHS, nor was he the manager. He was in charge of fundraising. The CCHS does not have a director. The manager is a lovely lady named Brenda Gaskill, she does an excellent job of running the CCHS. I would ask that those of you who would like to judge the CCHS, please before you do this go down there & volunteer your time & take a look with your own eyes how the place is operated. They take great pride in caring for the many animals that would love to find a family. They also depend on the pubics donations, it does not have to come in the form of monies, they except sheets,towels,toys,food & medical supplies,etc. They also are in need of dog walkers,as so many dogs are housed there. So I ask that you not let Mr. Sorrels alleged bad judgements define the way you view the CCHS.

-- Posted by luvinmydgs on Sun, Aug 22, 2010, at 8:42 PM

Justice will prevail, but it sure can never fix all the damage done to the CCHS. The animals will pay the price in the end. What a shame it is!

-- Posted by Sugarbear on Sun, Aug 22, 2010, at 10:33 PM

If he was never the director, as "luvinmydygs" suggests, why does the paper always refer to him as the "director"?

-- Posted by millertime on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 9:10 AM

They said he misappropriated funds. I believe that is a polite word for stealing,

-- Posted by Susan Paloma on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 10:48 AM

And the hits just keep on coming! I'd say he "released the hounds" to throw off the scent of his alleged misappropriation of funds.

When he gets out of jail, he needs to be run out on a rail.

Personally, LUVINMYDGS, I have no problem with the shelter .. never have .. my problem has always been with those in upper management. Case in point, Mr. Sorrels.

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 11:36 AM

Yes Susan, I think they are being very polite??? To comment on your question millertime, I dont know why the media continues to say he was the "director", I wish somebody in upper management would clear this up with local law enforcement & the media though. Would it change anything though? absolutely not, He allegedly stole funds & let the dogs out & Im sure alot more than we are aware of. My point is as long as we sit here & talk about Mike he gets what he wants & that is PUBLICITY. He loves it & craves it, so I say to you Mr. Sorrels, you wanted it you got it! Now on to rebuilding the CCHS and saving the many lives of the helpless animals that reside there. For those of you who have concerns, you could become a member & attend meetings & voice your concerns & get answers to your questions. The staff & board members are awesome people that welcome your opinions & questions.

-- Posted by luvinmydgs on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 1:26 PM

I organize and drive a transport of shelter dogs to New England each month and worked with Clay County Humane Society for a period of over three years. I have found the volunteers and staff who care for the animals -- save Mike Sorrels -- to be quite compassionate. However, I must say, I'm extremely disappointed to read the comment above from a previous employee who stated that Mike Sorrels was not the director. Mike, board members, staff, and volunteers all have told me that he was the shelter director. Further, Mike participated in transport activities acting as the director.

After two shelter dogs were rumored to be shot as a means of euthanasia under Mike's direction, I was told that Mike then became a co-director, with Brenda Gaskill being appointed as the other co-director. So, unless I was being told incorrect information by staff, board members, and volunteers of Clay County Humane, Mike was, indeed, the director. I'm saddened that Mike was allowed to remain in this position after several allegations were made over the shooting of two Clay County Humane shelter dogs. In my humble opinion, board members should have conducted a thorough review of Mike Sorrels activities at that point and some of these difficulties-- including the unauthorized release of 16 dogs -- may have been avoided.

None of this should take away from the fact that the Clay County Humane Society animals are in constant need of help. As with any organization that cares for stray and homeless animals, donations -- cash and supplies -- are always in need.

-- Posted by cleagan1950 on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 3:55 PM

I have visited the CCHS and it has always been clean, the animals were well cared for, & the grounds were very well kept. It unfortunate that this idiot (in my opinion) had to try to screw them out of everything & play the big hero by "finding" the dogs. What a jerk!

-- Posted by th1953 on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 4:29 PM

Cleagan1050 - let me first say you do wonderful things to help the animals. Then let me say I am on the board of the CCHS & Mike was NOT the director. You never heard that from me. He acted as assistant manager from time to time when the manager Brenda Gaskill was not there. Brenda was appointed manager when the previous manager left in January & is still the manager & doing a great job! Mike told a lot of things to a lot of people but that did not make it true. He lead members, staff, & volunteers to believe he was director. In fact he even made up business cards stating it. But he was not. He arranged a lot of things for fundraisers & he did a lot of shelter duties, but was never manager or director.

-- Posted by Sugarbear on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 7:27 PM

I'd just like to say, some may think he just let some dogs out.... but as simple as that sounds, some of those dogs ended up at my parents house while they were on vacation. I had to go out there because these dogs were a threat to my grandparents. They didn't appear to be violent dogs, but they were jumping up on people and cars and my grandparents are well into their late 70's and these dogs were a threat to them. If they would have knocked them down they couldn't have gotten up or much worse. Some folks don't think about what their actions cause.

And im not certain now who answered the phone when I called about these dogs but I remember it was a man and he introduced himself as the person in charge. It deffinately wasn't a woman.

-- Posted by Ninesy on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 9:34 PM

Again I assure you, he was not the manager nor the director. We all can say we are in charge or have business cards made up stating so, does that mean we really are? NO. I personally think Mr. Sorrels is a sick individual who only cared about himself, therefore I will not comment on him again. From here on out my goal is to get donations of any form into the shelter to help serve the animals that reside there as they wait for their forever homes! I am proud to say I worked for the CCHS, its a very rewarding job. I will continue to donate my time as well. I have a passion for animals who do not have a voice. So again I thank everybody who has stood by the shelter through this troubled time, & again I invite you all to go down there & meet the furry friends. Thank you again

-- Posted by luvinmydgs on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 9:52 PM

What ever this whackoo's position was he needs to spend some time in jail. After he gets out of jail he should be made to aquire a job solely to make money for the humane shelter to pay back the funds he stole. Another thought would be to make him pick up cans along the county roads. I was once told their is a fortune laying along the roads. Make Mr. Sorels pick up that fortune while wearing a jail bird striped uniform.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 10:19 PM

Reguardless whether Mike was Director or not it is the reputation of the shelter that is suffering due to his actions. The animals there are innocent and of course cant speak for themselves but do need attention and any and all donations that come their way. I have been to the sheleter and agree that it was clean and the people that I had to deal with were good and nice and treated the animals that I was in contact with kindly. We should just let the law and the courts do their jobs and Mike will get what is due to him. What happened is in the past and there is nothing that can change what has happened, but the law can make him pay for his actions.

-- Posted by klk_klo on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 10:22 PM

No, we can't change what Mike did. He has a lot of time to think now. Truely a shame people do things like that, but we will rise above it again. Please donate to the shelter to keep it running. The animals need your help. The shelter has very little funding as almost all of it is from fundraisers & donations. If you can't give money - volunteer! It is quite rewarding & you will understand a lot more about the needs the animals have. Thanks to all who help us help the animals!

-- Posted by Sugarbear on Tue, Aug 24, 2010, at 7:48 AM

All I can say is that I would love to see what he wrote on his job application as to his qualifications for the position as if he lied half as much as he lied about who he was to the public, it will be in print where the prosecutor can prove his guilt. He misrepresented himself to me personally about his credentials and board member had to step in to repair the damage he caused when he tried to tell another 4H family that he was going to take their animals away when he had no idea what he was talking about when a portion of their holding pen had mud standing in it in March. Looking back at it I wonder if he just wanted a barbecue and saw free meat?...What lot or pasture in Clay County doesn't have mud in part of it in the spring? So long as the animals have the option to get out of that area, those are good spring conditions in Clay County...Without a veterinary professional's opinion, he had no authority to try to remove those animals. In my opinion he is nothing more than a con man who may have conned the board members as well as law enforcement for a time in addition to the public.

Hopefully it has not damaged the humane society too much but might be teaching moment for the board to check into references, background, and credentials more carefully in the future as seems Clay County was not his first escapade. Board is there for the animals but just cannot let their guard down and think that everyone who desires to work with animals has same ethics. This is not the first time that a supervisor at the humane society has had run in with law or addiction problems that kept them from performing at their best for the animals. While I know that the board must be hemmed in with tight budget so can only pay so much, this is an area where they just have to play tough when hiring hands on management team and maybe even need to make it a more professional level salary/benefits package so they can hire someone with degree in shelter management or veterinary care. These fiascos end up costing just as much. Not putting board down at all but hoping that they can make these problems a learning experience and maybe try a different approach? Best of luck to them.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Tue, Aug 24, 2010, at 8:19 AM

As a board member I can tell you new rules and regulations concerning employment have been implemented. We have a great team who work together well and are doing everything we can to make sure this never happens again.

What ever title Mike gave himself is no longer important. He has been prosecuted for things we have proof of. Anything else we find while trying to fix all the damage he did during his employment will be turned over to law enforcement and also prosecuted. And yes he did lie on his job application and that is being addressed as well.

We would love to have the funding to employ experienced people but it just isnt there and the people we currently have do a fabulous job. Brenda does a great job as the manager and does it for the love of animals and no other reason. She certainly does not do it for any money. I work a full time job and still spend any available moment I have in that shelter right along side the employees working and I do it because I love being there.

We are at the mercy of volunteers and donations and both are disappearing due to the recent scandal Mike has created. Please continue to support the Shelter anyway you can, we truly appreciate all that the public does for us and thank you for your support.

-- Posted by Diesel on Tue, Aug 24, 2010, at 8:45 AM

Unfortunately people still lie on applications and get into positions that enable them to abuse their "power" and steal money, etc. as a result. They are prosecuting him for it, which is what should be done. Continue to donate to the shelter, they are being pro active on the matter, I think they need support, and they are doing the right thing. Continue to donate.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Tue, Aug 24, 2010, at 1:58 PM

Ombudsman - THANK YOU! You certainly stated that well. We're trying to do all we can to rise above all the negative publicity. We need donations to keep us going. Currently we have at least 60 dogs & countless cats. Take a look at Clayhumane.com Find it in your hearts to adopt!

-- Posted by Sugarbear on Wed, Aug 25, 2010, at 10:47 PM

Yes, thank you Ombudsman we need all the positive comments we can get. Due to the negative publicity we have received in the last few months our animals are suffering. Donations are down in all forms and the volunteers are just not coming in. We rely desperatley on such things as food, liter, supplies, workers and monetary donations. We cannot function without these things and to those of you who are giving, we cannot thank you enough you are truely angels. Please continue to support us, we are doing the best that we can with what we have. And please consider adoptions we have some great animals. Cats and kittens and dogs ranging from 5lbs to 100lbs all shapes, sizes and colors.

-- Posted by Diesel on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 11:21 AM


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