Warning: The first link in this post contains graphic images and descriptions of dead dogs which may be too disturbing for some readers. The second link covers the same story but is far less graphic and does not contain any photos. There is a video at that link which I have not watched so exercise your discretion.
The police department runs the pound in the city of Eufaula, AL. The Barbour County Reporter posted a piece last week citing allegations of animal abuse made by current and former city employees who did not wish to be named for fear of retaliation. These sources allege that most stray dogs impounded by the city are held for a few days then taken to a local vet, Dr. Tommy Horne, for killing. The city employees report they pin the fully conscious dogs to the ground with chokepoles while Dr. Horne heartsticks them. The dogs are then allegedly put into trash bags and carried to a dumpster. Sometimes the dogs are allegedly still moving inside the bags and are brought back for another injection:
One dog who was still moving was retrieved and returned to the veterinarian where they were given angry advice, allegedly by Dr. Horne, to “put them in a sack and don’t look back”. At times the employees would pull over on the side of the road and vomit.
The sometimes overflowing dumpster is allegedly filled with maggots and buzzards regularly feed on the dogs. Employees who complained to their supervisors about the killings were allegedly told to keep quiet or they would be fired.
The Barbour County Reporter article includes a quote from Dr. Horne, apparently confirming that he does heartstick dogs for the city:
“I don’t like it but..yes I have done that, its not the best thing, but its an acceptable method”, he said.
In response to the piece, area news station WTVM attempted to speak with Dr. Horne:
WTVM wanted to get the other side of the story, so we went to the veterinarian that the Barbour County Reporter names in it article, but the doctor drove away as we approached his clinic.
A woman inside the building locked the door and put up a sign to say they were closed, but according to the hours, closing time was not for another 90 minutes.
WTVM also reached out to the mayor, a city councilman and a current ACO but no one was willing to speak with the station about the allegations. The Eufaula police department issued a written statement to WTVM in response to its request for comment. The statement reads:
The Eufaula Police Department’s Animal Control Division performs all duties required of them in a professional manner and in accordance with applicable state laws and city ordinances. “Animal Control” is often the handling of feral, sick, aggressive, or otherwise unadoptable animals. For those animals that are healthy and of temperament to be relocated, home are actively sought when possible. However, the fundamental mission of the Animal Control Division is not to rehabilitate, rescue, or solely adopt animals, which is typically the mission of a humane society or local rescue group.
Our primary concern and duty is to protect the health and safety of our citizens. We recognize the unpopular position that places us in at times and we do not take that responsibility lightly. With continued training, conformance with law, and cooperation from overseeing state agencies, we will continue to offer assistance to the citizens of Eufaula in respect to animal control. We could not be able to fully meet the demands of this responsibility without the professionalism from veterinarians such as Dr. Tommy Horne, who has provided years of service to an unfortunate and unpleasant process with integrity and respect for the animals involved.
As always, we ask for the public to assist us and to be responsible animal owners and have their pets spayed an neutered to help control the animal population in town.
Anyone feeling comforted?
The Barbour County Reporter is calling for citizens to contact Eufaula mayor Jack Tibbs and request that all pet killings be suspended while a full investigation is conducted by an outside agency. The article lists the mayor’s contact information:
The Mayor’s office phone number is (334) 688-2005
or you can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Thank you Clarice for the links.)