UPDATE 3/31/2017 - This is Alderman Tony Thomas' response to the media firestorm, as posted on his Facebook page yesterday:
I promised folks a timeline. Here it is. Clearly, WTOC and, let's call him 'John' have colluded together to create a misleading, malicious, and false report to fabricate and sensationalize another WTOC fake news story. As to the reporter, she was no angel. She came with a deceitful mission; trespassed on my property; conspired and colluded with this lunatic 'John'; created a hostile situation and confrontation at my home; and then limps off trying to play victim. Ladies and Gentleman, these folks violated the law. They filed a fake police report; pressured Animal Control into trying to do something that was illegal and would have resulted in litigation; and then tried to condense it into a 'poor gal' story. My cats were never abandoned. The house is not in foreclosure. I live at this residence. What you have here is another fake news story from David Klugh. Just as fake as his 'abused boys story' from last year. This is Fake News! This is Malicious. This is WTOC and 'John'. I've asked for a Police investigation and charges to be filed.Be sure to read the Media Notification part closely. #FAKENEWSSAVANNAH #WTOCFAKENEWS #WTOC #WSAV #WJCL#WTGS #SAVANNAHNOW #DONLOGANAKNEW
TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Friday, May 26, 1:30 p.m.: Complainant named “John” calls Chatham County Animal Control directly to report there have been 3 cats abandoned inside a home at 18 Vernonburg Road. This call is not dispatched over radio, but is instead sent to the Animal Control Officer via mobile data terminal.
Friday, May 26, 4:01 p.m.: Animal Control Officer Gary Maple responds to 18 Vernonburg Road. No one is home. He leaves a “24-hour notice” on front door, requesting the homeowner to contact Animal Control within 24 hours.
Saturday, May 27, 9:16 a.m.: Animal Control Officer Maple returns to 18 Vernonburg Road. He calls Dispatch to request an SCMPD unit to assist at the location, which is a fairly common practice.
Police are dispatched over radio, and SCMPD Officer Jeffery Crosby responds to 18 Vernonburg Road. Officer Crosby learns at the scene from a neighbor that the house belongs to Alderman Thomas. Officer Crosby then notifies Sgt. Wesley Johnson, who responds to the scene. Southside Precinct Captain Ashley Brown is notified, and Capt. Brown contacts Alderman Thomas. Alderman Thomas responds to his home, makes contact with officers, enters homes, and carries the three cats out one by one for inspection by Animal Control Officer Maple. The cats appear in good health, and all parties leave.
MEDIA NOTIFICATIONIt appears from the incident reports that WTOC-TV arrived at 18 Vernonburg Road on Friday, May 26, shortly after Animal Control placed the 24-hour notice on the door. A WTOC reporter was then present as Animal Control and Police returned to 18 Vernonburg Road at 9:16 a.m. Saturday, May 27.
Here is what SCMPD Officer Crosby writes in his incident report:“(Animal Control Officer) Maple then stated that they informed Mr. John (the complainant) of their policy and that they had to leave notice for 24 hours before they could go into the residence to get the cats. He then stated that Mr. John did not like the outcome and contacted the news media. Mr. Maple then stated that he left the notice on the door at approximately 1600 hrs yesterday (05/26/17) and that after he left the news media arrived at the residence and made a story about the incident. He then stated that since then Animal Control has been getting pressured by the media about the cats and that his supervisor informed him to go get the animals, even though it had not been 24 hours since the notice was placed on the door.”
NOTE:As of July 1, 2016, Chatham County Animal Control is a separate entity from SCMPD, and reports to the Chatham County Manager and not the Police Chief. Its officers are not sworn Police Officers.However, Chatham County Animal Control’s incident reports remain on SCMPD letterhead, because the agency continues to use SCMPD’s records system. Because of this, Animal Control’s incident reports could be mistaken for SCMPD incident reports.
Fast-forward to 4:28 for the Mayor to start talking. You might be surprised at what he said...
Below is a screenshot that's going viral. It shows Tony Thomas' backing up the use of the "C" word to a WTOC reporter. Underneath that is the video story from that reporter.
(Some residents have started a petition calling for Thomas' impeachment. Click HERE for more.)