The severe overcrowding at the animal shelter in Ferris, TX was “solved” when a large number of dogs were whisked away in the night by the shelter operators after the local newspaper exposed the story. More than 80 dogs were reportedly taken out of state with only the shelter operators knowing where or in what condition the dogs are now. And they’re not talking:
The manager of Domestic Animal Rescue Emergency Shelter Services, the nonprofit that had been contracted to operate the city-owned shelter since November, said workers took the dogs to an American Indian reservation. But he won’t say where.
DARESS’ manager, James “Soaring Eagle” Vonda, declined to give the location of the reservation because he said he also runs a shelter for victims of domestic violence. He said disclosing the location could jeopardize his clients’ safety.
Well, that’s convenient. Still, it seems like some sort of proof of the dogs’ safety could be offered – video perhaps which doesn’t reveal the location? Better yet, a written explanation to the city of where the dogs are and how they are being cared for, which could have the location redacted before the city made the document public.
Without any evidence that the dogs spirited away by night are ok, there have been numerous calls for an investigation:
Any criminal investigation would have to be initiated by local law enforcement, the city manager said. Until there’s more evidence that neglect took place within the shelter, his hands are tied, [City Manager Eric] Strong said.
According to the contract, after 72 hours of being held at the shelter, all animals became the property of DARESS.
“We can do what we want to do with them … we’re certainly not going to kill them,” said Vonda, whose nonprofit is based in Leonard in Fannin County, north of Collin County. “We’re going to take them to someone who will care for them for the rest of their life.”
The community is suspicious because of eyewitness reports such as this:
In January, two months after DARESS began managing the shelter, a judge ordered Rashonda Tabor to perform community service there for driving without car insurance.
Tabor described overcrowding and sick dogs throughout the shelter. She said the place was a mess and looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned for days.
“I would rather go to jail than walk into that place,” she said. “It was horrible.”
The City Manager though, sounds wildly uninterested in the whole situation:
“We can’t go back and change what’s happened, but we feel we’ve done our part,” Strong said. “As soon as there were issues we were made aware of, we acted as quickly as we could, and we’ve moved on.”
I interpret this as, “As soon as the local paper made this into a scandal drawing national attention, we did nothing and let the shelter operators make the dogs disappear. Problem solved.”