Gail Brown, president of MS Critterz, the organization contracted by the city of Oxford and Lafayette County to run the Oxford animal shelter, has a history of racist Facebook posts dating back to 2014.
Brown used a litany of racial slurs and repeatedly attacked former President Barack Obama, calling him a “mussie” and claiming that he was the leader of ISIS. MS Critterz is located less than .3 miles from an Oxford mosque.
The city of Oxford awarded MS Critterz a contract to take over the animal shelter in October 2018, and the city pledged to pay the shelter $106,000 annually for the contract.
Before founding MS Critterz, Brown was on the board of the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society, the organization previously tasked with maintaining the Oxford animal shelter. The Daily Journal reported in 2018 that Brown left the board to explore options for a no-kill shelter.
However, Natalie Marrar Estrada, a former member of the OLHS board, confirmed that Brown was expelled from the board for racist and inappropriate Facebook posts.
According to OLHS Board meeting minutes from Oct. 2, 2017, in which Alderman Janice Antonow was present in both the meeting and the executive session, the board voted 7-1 to expel Brown from the board for racist and inappropriate Facebook posts. When asked if she was aware of Brown’s history of racism before unanimously voting to approve the contract, Antonow could not be reached for comment.
Frank Estrada, husband of Natalie Estrada, emailed Antonow on Oct. 1, 2018 to inform her that he was resigning from his position as an animal control officer, writing that he “cannot and will not work for Gail Brown.”
Another individual closely involved with the OLHS at the time confirmed that Brown was removed from the board for her racist posts, and that both Antonow and Lafayette County District 4 supervisor Chad McLarty had knowledge of the reasoning.
The individual also added that following Brown’s departure, Antonow requested police presence at the following two meetings in fear of Brown returning.
Antonow was not a voting member of the board, but she served as liaison between the shelter and the Board of Aldermen. As liaison, Antonow was tasked with keeping the Aldermen and the Mayor informed with the proceedings of the OLHS.
Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill told reporters yesterday that neither she, nor the city, were aware of Brown’s Facebook posts when they awarded MS Critterz the contract in 2018 but did acknowledge that they were made aware of them in January of 2019 when screenshots were mailed anonymously to both her and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby’s office.
Three months after the packet was mailed to her office, in May 2019, the city of Oxford extended the contract with MS Critterz until Sept. 30.
It is unclear whether or not Antonow shared the reason for Brown’s departure from the OLHS board with Tannehill before awarding MS Critterz the contract. Tannehill did not respond to repeated calls requesting comment. Despite repeated calls to her office, Tannehill could not be reached for comment.
In a public statement, MS Critterz said that the organization does not discriminate.
“The organization MS Critterz is non-discriminatory on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry) disability, marital status, sexual orientation or military status, in any of its activities or operations,” the statement read.
This is a developing story.