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.