Odessa Pound Kills Beloved Pet, Blames Owner

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!

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

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.)

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20 Comments

  1. db

     /  January 10, 2014

    And my guess is that it has happened again and again. They certainly made a big deal that this guy was a pit bull, too. Prejudice anyone? I hope the owner finds an animal friendly attorney and sues the pants off of the whole corrupt bunch down there. This is clearly a case of “we kill because we can”.

    Reply
  2. Katherine Goard

     /  January 10, 2014

    Why doesn’t anything surprise me anymore? It just angers the hell out of me and makes me just real nervous for the rest of the animals that wind up in any shelter anywhere. It’s all according to which one gets them, whether they live or die. I despise people most of the time anymore. I have no faith in the human race,.. at least what little I have is fading fast..

    Reply
  3. dl couldn’t have said it better my self I remember when the bad dog on the street was German Shepard, then came Rotties now it is Pit Bulls who is next on the list in actual face Collies and Cocker Spanuals are more apt to bite then any other breeds of dog

    Reply
    • Katherine Goard

       /  January 10, 2014

      Don’t know what breeds are on a biting list, but the only one that has ever bitten me was a little chi ! from behind me as I was walking home,. so those are the only one’s I’m ever afraid of! and not really afraid of them! Just goes to show size doesn’t matter.

      Reply
  4. doug williams

     /  January 10, 2014

    we kill to punish is what this is..

    Reply
  5. amber

     /  January 10, 2014

    Your a pathetic axcuse of human kind!

    Reply
  6. Karen F

     /  January 10, 2014

    At the end of the TV station’s story:

    “A group of Odessans have posted on our Facebook page about a candlelight vigil scheduled for the dog tomorrow. OPD has not been able to confirm with CBS 7 whether the vigil has been approved.”

    Interesting that the Police Department, which committed this outrage, has to okay a vigil protesting its actions. Fortunately, I don’t imagine it could get away with forbidding the protest.

    Reply
    • Gina

       /  January 13, 2014

      Most communities require advance permission for events held in parks, on the street, and other public areas.

      Reply
  7. mikken

     /  January 10, 2014

    Tell me again how s/n would solve this and how “no one wants to kill”?

    Reply
  8. Robyn Cody

     /  January 11, 2014

    I go into OAC many times every week to take pics and pull animals for rescue. The atrocities I see there amaze me. The fact that this was blamed on the owners doesn’t surprise me, because OAC will never take responsibility for their own actions. I applaud your blog, and until people everywhere, and it has started somewhat, start screaming about this worthless piece of crap of a shelter, nothing will get done. A lot of it is the mindset here, but Odessa is growing by leaps and bounds, and I hope that it changes for the better, People need to get tired of hearing the same BS day in and out. The fact that Fat Boy was put into A building means that they didn’t view him as a bad or mean dog (chasing children?) and that he wasn’t sick. So that was just a lie all around. If he was sick or a threat he would have been in the isolation building. This poor family was robbed of their pet. And regardless whether he had been in OAC before or not, it wasn’t their place to kill him in less than a day. They messed up and they know it. BUT instead of saying Hey we messed up, they blame someone else as usual. Makes me sick. I hope national attention is brought on them. AND no one said what they do is easy, but they need compassionate people doing it. Not people who don’t care about animals.

    Reply
  9. Wendi

     /  January 11, 2014

    Joe, the man that is in charge at OAC, was attacked by a pit bull.
    What doesn’t make sense to me is they say they discovered this was the second time Fatboy was running loose and picked up by OAC, ok then if he had already been there, wouldn’t they already have the owner’s contact information? (Unless it had changed)
    They don’t even scan for microchips.

    Reply
  10. Linda Forward

     /  January 11, 2014

    Thank you for sharing our story. Another issue with the OAC is the large number of dogs that are adopted who leave the OAC infected with parvo or distemper. Most of these are young dogs whose symptoms have not reached the clearly recognizable stage. Once in their new homes the pups become very ill, and owners spend significant amounts of money only to have their pets die. My dog was one of those.

    Reply
  11. Susan

     /  January 11, 2014

    Sharing from Ohio. kThe killing of this dog shows that these people are not trying at all to get these dog’s out of here or to find the owner’s. Time for new employees that really care about the animal’s that are housed here.

    Reply
  12. Joshua Reeves

     /  January 12, 2014

    Speaking as the owner of KRATOS FATBOY REEVES our household was devistated due to the actions of careless fools I hope and pray justice is made and I will not stop pressing forward on this matter until something is done! It’s sad that it has taken that many murders and sadly my FATBOY to open peoples eyes to this situation. OAC thought my dog was a vicious breed and they took his life and for that now I am the vicious breed…..

    Sencerily JOSHUA REEVES

    Reply
    • I’m very sorry for your loss Joshua. Please let us know how things go in your pursuit of justice for him. We are here for you.

      Reply
  13. Masson Farmer

     /  January 12, 2014

    My wife and I adopted our dog Ginger from Odessa Animal Control shelter less than a month ago. After a week, she began having upper respiratory symptoms that were later confirmed as distemper. We had to put her down yesterday due to the progression to severe neurological phase of the disease. All could have been prevented with early vaccination and proper shelter practices such as disinfecting kennel areas with a bleach solution. Things need to change at this shelter. Due to their archaic practices my family has lost a member.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear what happened to Ginger. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be to open your heart and home to a new family member and then lose her so quickly and needlessly. I hope you will consider speaking before the city council about your experience to make it part of the city’s public record. I agree with you that this shelter needs reform.

      Reply
  14. db

     /  January 12, 2014

    My sympathy to all those who have lost pets and family members due to the incompetence and neglect and apathy of the people in charge of this facility (cannot call it a shelter because it’s not). Those of you directly involved, please get together and figure out what action you can take as a united front. I promise you that things can change and we will do what we can to support you from a distance. But don’t let Fatboy and Ginger (and so many others) die in vain. I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through.

    Reply
  15. It really is time for some families to start to sue over some of these live taking mistakes. You can’t just take that back; that mistake is serious and forever. Time to start taking them to court. Right away.

    Reply

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