Ex-Albuquerque Animal Welfare Worker Sues City for Wrongful Termination After Blowing the Whistle

Victoria Murphy, a former employee of Albuquerque Animal Welfare, filed a lawsuit against the city after she was fired for what she says was blowing the whistle to protect public safety.

The Animal Welfare Department (AWD) has been no stranger to criticism in recent years, and this lawsuit is just another chapter in that ongoing drama. Inspector General investigations found the shelter and Barbara Bruin, the former director, adopted dangerous dogs out to families, a practice that led Murphy to blow the whistle.

Worker made several reports

According to Murphy, she first went to Bruin in 2014, as well as the Inspector General’s office, out of concern that the shelter was letting dangerous dogs be adopted by families. She was fired a week later, and accuses the city of violating the New Mexico Whistleblower Act as a result. This state law protects employees who notify authorities about wrongdoing in their workplace.

Bruin claimed the dogs were not “fundamentally unsafe,” and argued dogs should not be put down or prohibited from being adopted because they failed behavior tests. However, a city investigation in 2015 revealed Bruin had taken dogs categorized as “dangerous” off of the suggested kill list to send them out for adoption to families.

The lawsuit also lists other former employees of AWD who say they also faced retaliation for speaking out in a way similar to Murphy.

Murphy is not seeking financial compensation of any sort in the lawsuit—according to her attorney, she simply wants the shelter to admit it has engaged in unlawful practices, and wants her job back.

For further guidance on the steps you should take if you discover serious wrongdoing in your workplace, meet with an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group.