Galveston County Pound Under Investigation by Sheriff’s Office

Stacy Lee, a volunteer at the 5 million dollar Galveston County Animal Resource Center in Texas City, took photos documenting overcrowded conditions and what she describes as neglect and abuse of pets by staff:

“These dogs were walking around their own feces, their own urine, peeing in their water bowls, drinking their own urine,” Lee said. “I saw puppies eating their own fecal matter.”

Ms. Lee showed the photos to the county health department which runs the pound.

“We’re disturbed by some of the photos that we have seen. We do know that we had a visit from the Texas Department of State Health Services, and we were in compliance,” said Kurt Koopman with the Galveston Co. Health District.

Well yippy damn skippy for you.  And yet the Health District told local media “the facility took in 1,156 animals between June 3 and July 16 and euthanized 785 of them.”  That’s a 68% kill rate for that time period.

According to the Galveston County Health District, the shelter is trying to do what it can to find all of the dogs and cats homes.

Find homes where – at the landfill?

Ms. Lee claims that after she exposed the inhumane conditions at the facility, the director went on a retaliatory killing spree, designed to free up space and fool investigators from the county sheriff’s department who are looking into the cruelty allegations:

She said on July 13 a dump truck filled with euthanized animals pulled away from the shelter. She claims after that, the shelter tried to put on a front that it has “cleaned up its act”.

Killing animals to hide the evidence isn’t the only tomfoolery being alleged at the pound:

Whenever shelter director Dana Beckham is mentioned on the shelter’s  website DVM follows her name.

That would lead most people to think she’s a licensed vet.

When we asked Koopman if Beckham was a licensed vet he replied yes, she is a veterinarian.

But according to the Texas Veterinary Board Dana Beckham is not or ever has been a licensed vet in the state of Texas.

Oops.  Ms. Beckham had to publicly respond this week:

She began a Thursday meeting by acknowledging an allegation that was apparently made to the state’s vet board.

“I want it to be known that I’m not a licensed veterinarian,” Beckham told the packed crowd. “I do have a doctorate of veterinary medicine degree.”

Ms. Beckham claimed she has not been practicing veterinary medicine without a license and denied she had used her husband’s vet license to purchase pre-kill sedatives used at the pound.  Those sedatives were confiscated by investigators on Wednesday.

On Friday, the Galveston Co pound posted an update on its website, stating it won’t be administering the sedative any longer, nor will it vaccinate pets upon intake.  Both changes are reportedly being made in order to bring the pound into compliance with Texas Veterinary Board rules.  Which supposedly it wasn’t violating.  Oops.

Failure to vaccinate upon intake is poor shelter management.  The standard of care requires vaccination prior to or immediately upon impound in order to prevent the spread of disease.  At a facility already under investigation for stuffing too many animals into filthy cages, one would think disease prevention would be a priority.  The announcement strikes me as retaliatory in nature, further victimizing the animals the shelter is accused of harming.

The Galveston Co pound does not adopt out Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Chows or any other dog it deems “aggressive”.  This policy, not based in science, also gives me the impression that the director is not interested in saving pets’ lives but rather enjoys abusing power.

Best of luck to local advocates pushing for shelter reform.  Let us know if you need help.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

9 thoughts on “Galveston County Pound Under Investigation by Sheriff’s Office

  1. How is not administering sedatives or vaccines “in compliance”? Unless, they require a licensed vet and Commander DVM isn’t, so sedatives and vaccines cannot be used? In which case…wouldn’t it be, you know, “sensible” to get a licensed vet on board?

    Or am I just talking crazy talk?

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    1. No, you’re not talking crazy. This whole situation is so bizarre – but happening in too many places. Current folks in charge need to find another line of work, hopefully working with totally inanimate objects (like rocks, not dead animals). Thanks for speaking out, volunteers. Don’t let this go away until something changes for the better. The animals need you.

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  2. How much do you want to bet that they thought that Commander DVM *was* a licensed vet when they hired her? And that she never disabused them of this thought and they never checked her credentials?

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  3. I moved to Texas a couple of years ago from Washington state and I will say a couple of things about my experiences here. 1. People tend to hire people they like moreso than qualifications. I’m sure that is true everywhere, but I have seen many instances where I or other people where I knew were more qualified than the people hired. It is called “cultural fit” which is used to justify just about anything (thanks, Linkedin). 2. Many times when I have had questions, I find people are more apt to bs their way out of it than actually check facts, so I have to do twice as much work to verifying independently (due diligence) 3. When you have forced people to acknowledge their mistakes, after they have created a cluster for you, they get defensive, saying that everyone makes mistakes. True, people do, but not everyone forces you to spend hours proving that a mistake was made then acts like that inconvenience is a trite thing. This is not everyone, but I have encountered this much more since moving here than ever before. I love the people down here and there are many whip smart people, who, seem to check for the above as 2nd nature (and probably don’t even know they are doing it), but I can totally see how someone can do a snow job. The pictures that were floating around Facebook were awful, I have seen rescues shut down and charged with animal cruelty for less. Those pictures hurt my heart. I hope advocates stay on them until they clean up their act. Thanks for covering it.

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  4. First why to hell are they murdering any dog? There are plenty of out of state rescues that would take the dogs that they are murdering. Better yet, these people need to all be fired and hire new employees from the bottom up. Make sure the new hires first priority is the animals and everything else is secondary. Don’t just take them on their word because anyone can say oh I care..give them a year probation and watch their actions. Install a security camera system an d don’t tell the employees about it. Thank you everyone for being a voice for the voiceless.

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  5. Shirley, is there a way to receive/subscribe for notifications of comments without first leaving a comment? (sometimes I don’t have anything to say, but want to read others comments)

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    1. Not that I know of but I will check in the WordPress help forums to see if there is anything. I’ll report back if I learn something new. Alternatively, may I suggest a benign comment such as SUPER GROVER! or something similar when wanting to subscribe?

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      1. This is what I found:

        “If you want to stop receiving comment notification or start receiving notification on all comments on a particular blog, click the “Subscription Options” link at the bottom of the notification email. You can also use the link shown below.”

        The link shown here (which I was unable to paste) is something that appears at the bottom of your e-mail notification which reads:

        “Want less email? Modify your subscription options.”

        Please let me know if that is useful Dot. If not, I’ll keep looking.

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      2. yup.. that is a big help.. I had to do some clicking, but I found a page with a list of topic I have not confirmed.. it appears this is where I need to go the next time.. thank you

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