The Odessa pound in Texas has a poor track record including banning rescuers without reasonable cause and violating their First Amendment rights. Although the police department in charge of the pound does not make its statistics available to the public on its website, one area rescuer cites a kill rate of nearly 85% and claims “6 or 7” dogs are housed in each kennel. A petition seeking improvements at the pound has collected more than 4600 signatures to date. The Odessa American reports the pound killed 5,442 animals in the first 10 months of 2013, deeming all but 353 of them unadoptable.
But wait – there’s more!
On Tuesday, a dog named Fatboy was picked up by Odessa AC and taken to the pound. His owner came to reclaim him but was turned away because he didn’t think to bring the dog’s vaccination records with him. The owner returned the next morning with shot records in hand and asked to take his pet home. But Odessa AC had already killed Fatboy.
Here is where I usually say “Oops” and tell how the pound staff explained away the accidental killing of a pet whose owner was turned away when trying to redeem him. But Odessa AC not only failed to take any responsibility whatsoever for the needless killing of Fatboy, they issued a statement blaming the owner and attempting to paint Fatboy in a negative light as well:
“On 1-6-14 at approximately 1401 hours, Odessa Animal Control officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of Golder in reference to a Black Pit Bull that had been chasing children thru the neighborhood. Animal Control officers later located the said dog in the area of 12th and Alleghaney. The pit bull was running loose and did not have a tag or collar on it. The pit bull was brought back to the animal shelter later that evening. It was discovered that this was the second time the pit bull had been brought to the animal shelter for running loose,” OPD said of the incident.
“On 1-7-14 at approximately 1700 hours, a male subject came into the shelter and reported that his dog was possibly there. The male subject did not leave any information, including his name or address and advised he would be coming back. The male subject never returned that evening.”
“On 1-8-14 in the morning hours, the said pit bull was determined to be sick. To prevent any further diseases from spreading, the said pit bull was euthanized per policy.”
Oh where oh where to begin? Odessa AC reportedly has a quarantine room for sick animals. If Fatboy really was sick – and yeah, I’m questioning the ability of these control freak pet killers to diagnose a sick dog – why didn’t they put him in the quarantine room? “Pitbull chasing children” is to my mind a blatant attempt to deploy the scary. But when I read it, I interpret it as a friendly dog who escaped his yard and was having a romp enjoying his renegade status. He didn’t bite anyone or even give anyone a stern look. Just because he’d gotten loose in the past – and apparently issued no stern looks then either – doesn’t make a case that the dog needed to die. Sorry, no scary.
Regarding the “male subject” (ooh, he’s like a criminal now too!), isn’t it good enough that he identified his dog, spoke to a staff member who told him a vaccination record was required for redemption and left with a verbal agreement to return in the morning? Does he have to “leave information” in writing and oh say, wouldn’t that be the Odessa pound staff’s job to collect that anyway?
The statement issued by the police department is nothing short of a hit job, attempting to deflect blame for their own failures – which are obviously chronic and massive, to the tune of 5000 “unadoptable” dead animals – and blame the victims.
I hope in addition to the petition, local shelter pet advocates organize some public awareness events, starting with speeches delivered to the city council. Because this situation is bullshit stacked on top of malarkey and held together with depravity. And if this is the first time Odessa has killed someone’s lost pet, I will eat my hat. Has anyone examined the records on those 5000 “unadoptable” animals killed in 10 months last year? I’m betting it reads like a Lost and Found Pets section from the local newspaper. Except at the Odessa pound, it’s Lost and Found and Killed and Screw You Guys, We’re the Police.
(Thanks Nathan and Clarice for info on this story.)