More Troubling Accusations Against Houston Humane Society Director

Would you adopt a used kitten from this man?
Would you adopt a used kitten from this man?
Courtesy of a former humane society employee

An animal cruelty investigator for the Houston Humane Society has quit after accusing the shelter's director of denying jobs to black applicants, spewing racist epithets, bullying coworkers and being an all-around jerk.

Joe Guerra, who is also a retired deputy constable, filed his complaint in December, claiming that shelter director Edward Perez causes "the employees to work in fear, and uses his power of authority to intimidate and retaliate against Houston Humane Society employees."

Guerra told the Houston Press he was assigned to a different supervisor about a month after he filed the complaint. An attorney for the HHS declined comment; neither Perez nor Executive Director Sherry Ferguson responded to requests for comment.

In Guerra's eight-page complaint that he also posted on Facebook, Guerra claims that Perez referred to female employees as "lazy bitches," and that he had problems with one employee who was "fucking [a] 'nigger.'"

Guerra also told the Press, "He's made other racial comments, about how he doesn't like servicing black people's dogs because they don't ever want to pay — but he doesn't use the word 'black people'; he used the N-word."

It's not the first time an employee has complained about Perez. In a 2009 lawsuit filed by two female employees, Perez was accused of "unwelcome and unwanted touching," and intimidating other female employees. (In an especially icky allegation, that suit also claimed that Perez proclaimed before a Girl Scouts tour of the shelter "that he liked them 'young.'") The women claimed they notified Ferguson and other supervisors, who ignored the claims, and actually fired one of the employees who complained.

Perez denied the allegations, and the case was settled after mediation.

But other female employees told the Press in 2009 that they were sexually harassed by Perez; some women claimed that Perez pressured them into joining him for long "lunch hours" at various strip clubs. The women said they were scared of Perez, a large man who was a reserve deputy constable until a few years ago, and who was often armed. Because that's what you want in an animal shelter director — a big dude with a gun.


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