The chief clerk in Judge Gracie Lewis's courtroom confirms: Jury selection is set to begin this morning in the trial of Tyrone McGill, the former Dallas Animal Services manager indicted in August 2010 on charges of animal cruelty for his alleged role in allowing a trapped cat to die within shelter walls. According to court documents, on May 4 of last year McGill was notified by an animal cruelty investigator that a cat had become trapped in the wall between the break room and the women's bathroom; the investigator and others could hear it trying to free itself "to no avail"; McGill said he'd handle it.
But he didn't, and a week later employees of the shelter could smell the decomposing cat from the break room ... where they ate lunch. It wasn't until May 18 that a hole was cut in the wall and the corpse was finally removed. The indictment accuses McGill of "knowingly and recklessly [torturing]" the animal by his inaction.
For some, of course, there's still the question of why he remains on paid leave. Frank Librio, City Hall spokesman, is checking to see if that's still the case. (Update at 9:38 a.m.: It is. From Librio, via email, "Mr. McGill is on paid administrative leave.") Or, perhaps Interim Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata can answer that question; he's on the list of potential witnesses the District Attorney's Office sent to the court at the end of October, along with Johnnie England of Operation Kindness and Kent Robertson, McGill's former supervisor at the shelter, who resigned in August 2010. The whole witness list follows, as does the DA's jury questionnaire, which asks: Are pets an important part of your life? Well?