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.)