Friday, members of Paws & Claws Humane Society were tipped off by an inmate at least 20 canines were shot and killed near the shelter by animal control officers.
"I'm shocked," said Jerry Gaskins, founder of Paws & Claws, a volunteer organization tending to the needs of the shelter for more than 10 years. "I don't know how this could happen."
Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker, who found out about the shootings miday Friday, launched an investigation into his department, which took over Chesterfield County Animal Control over a year ago.
Chesterfield County Animal Control Supervisor Bryan Burch declined to comment differing questions to the sheriff.
In a statement released by Parker, his office will determine if the shot dogs are a violation of administration policy or criminal actions.
State Law Enforcement Division and the Fourth Circuit Solicitor's Office have been notified of the investigation.
Neighboring residents who live across the street from the Goodale Road shelter and the sheriff's office firing range heard gunshots within 24 hours of volunteers discovering the dogs.
After the dogs were found Gaskins, who met with Parker, said his response was appropriate fielding questions by detectives.
Volunteers, who chronically relocate dogs from the high-kill shelter, were allegedly given a heads up to adopt the canines before they were disposed.
"We understand it's a reality that many animals are euthanized, but if they didn't have the money to euthanize them (through injection), we could've scrounged up the money," Gaskins said.
Gaskins, who has seen the euthanization equipment and animals put down, doesn't understand why dogs would be shot.
The shelter has been problematic for the sheriff's office with out-of-state animal rights activists scrutinizing its euthanization practices.
Initially animals were put down inside a gas change, which was removed in September.
Animal rescue volunteer Debbie Farhi dug up two dogs buried near the shelter posting photos of the shot animals on Facebook.