TX ACO Gasses Pets to Death, Cries When Activists Demand Change

The Mathis Animal Shelter in TX appears to be a catch and kill facility that is not open to the public for adoptions.  The police department oversees operations at the pound and Chief Byron Smith told an area TV news station that the kill rate is 99%.  The solitary ACO for Mathis, Jesse Lerma, has been accused of wrongdoing by animal advocates:

A handful of animal rights activists claim Lerma uses gas chambers to euthanize dogs, hand selects the dogs he wants euthanized based on personal vendettas, kills dogs that have already been paid for or adopted out, euthanizes dogs before the four day hold period, and may be selling dogs to pocket the money.

On January 1, it will be illegal to gas animals to death in Texas.  The police chief doesn’t give me the impression he’s interested in making any changes before that date.  The ACO’s response to the reporter’s questions doesn’t exactly reassure me either:

When our Elizabeth Hughes stopped by the Mathis Police Department for some answers, Officer Jesse Lerma fired back at his accusers. “They are trying to take over my shelter. If they want me to resign.. I will do that,” said Lerma.


Jesse Lerma also told us he wants to quit and left the building in tears.

I do not speak for the local advocates but personally yes, I’d like this ACO to resign.  Even if the allegations about retaliation killings, pocketing cash and killing before the hold period expires are never proven, the fact that he’s gassing 99% of the pets in his care is more than enough reason to my mind.  Get someone new in there, someone who loves dogs and cats and will get 99% of them out of the shelter alive.  I hope the local advocates keep pushing for reform.

(Thanks Clarice.)

18 thoughts on “TX ACO Gasses Pets to Death, Cries When Activists Demand Change

  1. Holy crap. Yes, quit. Please. Right now. Today. Because releasing every animal in the “shelter” on the street gives them MUCH better chances of survival than being in your “care”.

    1. sad to do this, but you are right, they will have a better chance, fire this dirtbag, coward, wussie, esp. if that’s what he wants….he needs to stand up, put his big panties on & quit, or stand up to the local politics. Stand up & quit being a coward, all they can do is Fire you, & that’s what you want……

  2. And did you see the video? WTF razor wire around the shelter? What’s that about?

    Gas chamber right outside – that’s nice. So he can eat his lunch indoors and not listen to the struggle of death outside. I’d be parked out there as close as I could get (and still be on public land) and video the goings on for all to see.

      1. Hey, he’s sensitive! Stop picking on him! What amazes me though is the fact that people are DEFENDING him in the article comments. He fosters at his home! He’s a good guy! He wants to use lethal injection, but they won’t let him! (Poor bastard would probably get carpal tunnel injecting 99% of everything that comes into the place). He’s a victim of local politics!

        The only victims here are the ones who end up in the blue metal bin out back.

  3. I camped out from 7:30 yesterday morning until noon waiting for Jesse to arrive so I could ADOPT one of these 4 imprisoned dogs. He was on the *clock* at 8 that morning. He did NOT come to the shelter although he was notified by dispatch to be there. He said he was working in the field..IN FACT what he was doing was driving in MY neighborhood (where there are 4 mixed breed dogs running the streets).My street actually *dead ends *directly to the shelter!( I do have a witness to this! ) Jesse himself was spoken to by my friend who was camped with me and she told him he needed to be there. His response was * I am out in the field and will be there as soon as I can* when all this time he was only a few blocks from the shelter*,She told him she was waiting and he told her not to tell him how to do his JOB….all this was while he was passing my house!! In all this time of waiting the dogs were barking for food and water! We were visited numerous times by the sheriff and police depts. but NO ONE was there to help these dogs…In total we waited over 5 hours for Jesse to show up! He never did..he went to PD and boo-hooed his sob story to media and resigned.. The chief must be his friend because Jesse retained his job and nothing was resolved! The Chief patronized the group involved and *soothed* things over but at the end of the day,,,Jesse won..the dogs LOST!

    1. Do not give up now. This guy needs to be gone yesterday. An you get a group of like-minded folks together to take this on? I am so sorry for the poor animals who, through no fault of their own, end up in this killing place.

  4. I live in Houston – what can we do about it? We’re all outraged but we’re just preaching to the choir in our comments.

  5. Today 6 dogs were rescued from the pound and will be vetted soon. They are in a safe place and being cared for with plenty of food and water. However..I have a question for the police officer who showed up today to unlock a gate for us. With the police chief present the officer was walking down the line of cages and we told him which ones were taking (all of them) He said well..not that one..that one is mine. His name is Rocket (a full bred doberman) and I have a 2 year old son ……….huh…???? So here comes the chief and when the officer told his boss this dobie was his the chief says this dog is his. No paperwork ,no ID ,no nothing..so….WHY IN THE HECK did this cop leave this poor dog in a kill shelter for more than 3 days KNOWING full well he would be euthanized at any minute if it was truly his dog..????? I am dumbfounded! Supposedly now there will be 2 days a week that the impound will be open for a couple hours those day so people can come get their dogs or rescue can get them…we shall see

    1. Watch your local Craigslist for that Dobie to show up for sale, soon. Sounds like the cops enjoy a little pet flipping on the side to make extra cash.

      1. Thx for all you’re doing! What greedy bastards! Are they all on crack or something?!?! What the hell is their problem? Keep on them. How far r u from Houston. If I can drive there to help out I will (foster, protest, whatever, I will do so). If too ar to drive I will find out the TV stations om the area to see if will fo an expose on this. I have experience as both an advocate and PR profession and will write the damn press relaese! Thx

      2. We are about 6 hours from Houston,And fosters are ALWAYS needed. All the help we can get will be greatly received!

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