Facebook Does Exist to Communicate Ideas to Like-Minded People

Published by Daleen Berry on

Frankie Sinclair

Note: The following statement is from the “Help Support Courtney Austin” Facebook page. I’ve reposted it below in its original form. The author is Frankie Sinclair, from Glouscester, Va. (Please watch one of two moving Youtube videos a volunteer created about Courtney’s work at the PCAS and her love for the animals there. You will be inspired!)


Mr. Sinclair’s statement: 

This is not going to be a short post. I have been dilegently following this story since it began, and listening to the radio interview was the snowflake that caused the avalanche. I have a lot to say, and since this is the United States of America, where FREE SPEECH is a constitutional right, I will speak my mind and you can either chose to read or not. You can agree or disagree– it is your right as much as mine. If you don’t like it, then run for the office of county commisioners who think they are above such petty opinions of the public who pay their substantial salaries.

I was born and raised in Preston County until I moved to Virginia. I went to high school with Courtney, though she graduated a year? ahead of me. Though we walked in different circles, she always stood out from the crowd. Not just another face, but an intelligent, centered, energetic young woman that you just don’t forget. She had a different last name then, and when I saw Help Support Courtney Austin’s link on facebook from a friend of mine, I had no idea who they were talking about. After seeing her picture, the cogs clicked, and I followed the story. This story has since spread like wildfire, and with a little help from some friends, it will continue to spread as far as it needs to spread to achieve whatever end, I’m sure.

Meet my daughter, Courtney Austin, a little “girl” with a really big heart, and a true animal lover if there ever was one!

Now, to the meat of the situation. Since Courtney was officially employed as mangager of the Shelter, she has managed to turn it around and save the life of every animal that walked through the door. How did she do this? Were the previous managers just lazy? No. How can anyone spend so much time with the animals and not do everything they can to not have to euthanize them? Technology has changed in the last few years, and she utilized every resource that she had at her disposal to do her job. It is by her boundless energy and communicating with the public that those animals were saved. If the public is not motivated and involved, how could anyone ever hope to accomplish this task?

Facebook exists. It is a device designed specifically to communticate ideas to like-minded people. Why not utilize this resource? I have personally vistited the facebook pages of several other shelters who have also utilized this resource. Preston County Animal Shelter must not have had a facebook page of their own, otherwise she wouldn’t have had any need to start one of her own in the first place. As I understand, this facebook page was started with her personal information attatched to it, and the comissioner’s demands for administrative priviledge to the page would infringe upon her personal privacy. Why would any sane person just hand over their facebook password to anyone, even if, and especially because, they are county comissioners with their own personal agenda? Start your own page! Post on it if you like!

What would the County Commisioners office do with it anyway? They are not in the trenches. Do they organize volunteers, adoptions, donations etc. to keep the shelter going? It seems that they wanted administrative priveledge for the sole purpose of editing the material that was on it to cover up some of the less than perfect conditions of the place. They don’t want her to advertise it as a “no-kill” shelter? If you can be a “no-kill” shelter, why not? If you have employees who are motivated and innovative enough to get it done, then why not?

Let’s turn the tables for a second, shall we? Preston County Comission recieved a $200,000 grant from the state to “… assist in the replacement of the HVAC and domestic hot water units in the Jail Building and installation of a new boiler in the Courthouse Annex” to help increase the energy efficiency of government buildings. Now, if one of the furnaces in the animal shelter was not working– they knew it wasn’t– then why couldn’t they retrofit one of the perfectly functional units removed from either of these places (even though it may not be as energy efficient as the government issue)? Probably tossed it in the dumpster. Not a HVAC guy, but $200,000 and not a penny to spare for a non-governmental, governmentally ran facility? Each of these facilities already had esisting ductwork, obviously, so did it really cost them that much? Craig Jennings himself said in the radio interview that he had a contracter or someone come into the shelter to see what could be done about the broken furnace and decided it was cheaper to reroute ductwork and run one furnace than spend a mere 7,000 or so dollars to replace the one that was broken. Not so tight when it comes to your own building! It may have been “55 or 60” degrees in the shelter when they were both running. Are you willing to swear on your office that the temerature in the facility was in that range of temperature on the day in question, Mr. Jennings?

He admited knowledge of the pipes freezing as a recurring problem. He had a contractor look at it and wrap some heat tape around it, which, as he eplained, worked good until someone ran it over. All that instead of having someone like me come in who is willing to dig a little deeper and actually fix the problem. If you put the place together with duct tape, no wonder you don’t want all the public attention. What do you say we get an inspector in there and make sure everything’s up to par, Mr. Comissioner? I hear they have some pretty tight regulations these days on places that house animals.

But here we are. No one was pointing a finger at the commissioners until they convieniently stood up and said, “Here I am!” Let me just say that there is a stampede coming your way, unless we can direct this energy elsewhere.

What are we doing? What is our goal? What does Courtney want out of all of this? After all of this drama, I haven’t seen or heard a single word from her. She deleted the facebook page rather than hand it over, and seemingly disappeared from the stage. I realize that she needs to keep her hands clean and hold onto her cards for a while until something is decided. But THE BIG QUESTION IS: do we really want to go through all of this trouble to put her back beneath the feet of the same (i have quite a few adjectives I could add) politicians who harbour such personal animosity and questionable agenda, in the same sub-standard conditions as before? I would like to see her climb out from beneath this rock, spread her wings, and fly!

To Courtney: We are all behind you %200 with whatever you choose, but having followed this story I have come to the conclusion that you need to fire THEM! Three paths lay before you on this road: struggle on and maybe get your job back under the same …politicians; choose another animal shelter who would, no doubt, appreciate your talent and motivation; or start a no-kill rescue of your own that would help to suppliment the efforts of the PCAS and others to spread that no-kill status as far as possible. You have a gift! Don’t let them crush it. Good luck whatever you choose, but know that you are not alone either way.


Editor’s note: Courtney’s mom, Daleen Berry, would love it if you would please support Courtney and her efforts to save more than 100 animals still housed at the shelter during what’s turning into a very bad winter here. You can sign the petition asking for her reinstatement, send her a friend request or give her a high five, or like the “Help Support Courtney Austin” page, along with a growing number of people around the world.


Berry is the executive director of Samantha’s Sanctuary, Inc., a new 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping empower abused women and their children. She invites you to join her when she takes to the stage in “Knowing Who We Are,” part of Penn State’s University’s Cultural Conversations 2013. Berry will present a soliloquy of her memoir about rape, Sister of Silence, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2013, at The Penn State Downtown Theater Center on Allen Street.


Berry is the first recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country.Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read the first chapter free, please go to the Sister of Silence site. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.” To read her award-winning memoir, Sister of Silence, in e-book format (or any other e-book), download a free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.If you want to read more than 100 reviews, go to Amazon. To view the Sister of Silence book trailer, go to her VintageBerryWine Youtube channel.

Daleen Berry

Daleen Berry

Daleen Berry (1963- ) is a New York Times best-selling author and TEDx speaker who was born in sunny San Jose, California, but who grew up climbing trees and mountains in rural West Virginia. When she isn't writing, she's reading. Daleen is also an award-winning journalist and columnist, and has written for such publications as The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and XOJane. Daleen has written or co-written eight nonfiction books, including her memoir, "Sister of Silence," "The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese," "Pretty Little Killers," "Cheatin' Ain't Easy," "Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang," "Shatter the Silence," and "Appalachian Murders & Mysteries," an anthology. In 2015, West Virginia University placed "Sister of Silence" and "Guilt by Matrimony" on its Appalachian Literature list. You can follow her blog here: https://www.daleenberry.com. Or find her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as email her at daleen(dot)berry(at)gmail(dot)com. She loves to hear from readers.

1 Comment

LouKY Anon

LouKY Anon · February 16, 2013 at 1:26 AM

#Anonymous supports this injustice.
╭∩╮( º.º )╭∩╮
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.
╭∩╮( º.º )╭∩╮

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