In this 2014 file photo, a dog barks at the Gwinnett County animal shelter. The county recently named the shelter's new management team. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Gwinnett names new animal shelter management team

Gwinnett's next animal shelter manager is a cop, through and through. It's very first assistant manager, on the other hand, has a wealth of animal experience. 

The Gwinnett County Police Department, which oversees the county's shelter and animal welfare unit, announced the hires Thursday, more than four months after the resignation of previous manager Sgt. Chip Moore.

Effective Monday, Curtis Harrell will take over the manager position, overseeing both the shelter and the animal control unit's operations. He's spent the last six years teaching criminal justice and forensics to high school students in Cherokee County. His 23-year law enforcement career included serving as major of operations during the formation of the Johns Creek Police Department in north Fulton County, Gwinnett police said, and he attended the FBI National Academy and the Georgia Law Enforcement Management Program. Harrell holds two Masters degrees. 

Cythnia Wiemann, meanwhile, will fill the new assistant manager position. 

Wiemann, who most recently served as the city of Madison's sole animal control officer, is a former veterinary technician, officials said. She is also "affiliated with numerous animal rescue, foster and disaster groups,"  serves on the National Animal Care and Control Association Board of Directors, and is secretary/treasurer of the Georgia Animal Care and Control Association.

"“We are excited to bring Curtis and Cynthia on board and watch them take the Gwinnett County Animal and Welfare Enforcement Center to next level of customer service excellence and compassionate care for the animals in our charge,” Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said in an emailed statement.

Moore, who had led the shelter since 2012, resigned Nov. 13, citing personal reasons, a police department spokesman said at the time. The date coincided with Moore's 20th anniversary with the department. 

Moore was credited with reducing the shelter's euthanasia rate and increasing adoptions, but his tenure wasn't without controversy. Last April, the shelter had to close for several days because of an outbreak of kennel cough. One dog died and several got sick.

Moore's predecessor, Lt. Mary Lou Respess, retired in May 2012 after an investigation into what one black shelter employee called a "culture of bigotry." Five other shelter employees resigned or were disciplined as part of the investigation.

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