Odessa Pound Kills Owned Pets upon Impound, Two Days in a Row

Prince (photo by Marie Luera)

Prince (photo by Marie Luera)

Three years ago, Marie Luera and her family adopted littermate male kittens from the long troubled Odessa pound in Texas.  She named them Binx and Mojo.  They joined a third kitten at home called Prince.  All three cats were neutered and vaccinated and lived as indoor/outdoor pets.  At night, they slept in bed with the kids.  When Binx and Prince didn’t come home late last week, Marie became concerned.  Neither cat was microchipped and both had persistently removed the collars Marie had tried to keep on them.

The Odessa pound is closed on weekends but Marie checked the website which states:

Dogs and cats that are not wearing a current vaccination for rabies are held for three days.

Since she had last seen Binx and Prince on Wednesday night, she felt reassured that, had they been impounded by animal control, they would still be there on Monday.  She went to the Odessa pound Monday morning as soon as the place opened.  She and her husband walked through the facility but did not see either Binx or Prince so she asked the staff member at the counter about her pets.  The staffer explained that the pound had been accepting a lot of cats lately from one man and that it was possible that man had brought in one or both of her pets.  The staffer told Marie she would check “the dalmatian book” which Marie noted was a notebook with cartoon puppies from 101 Dalmatians on it, filled with red cards.  Inside, the staffer located cards for cats matching the descriptions of Binx and Prince.

Binx (photo by Marie Luera)

Binx (photo by Marie Luera)

Binx had been trapped by a man living on Marie’s street and turned into the Odessa pound last Thursday at 10:03 a.m.  He was killed at 11 a.m. for “aggression”.  Prince had been trapped and turned in by the same man on Friday, also at 10:03 a.m.  He too was killed at 11 a.m. for “aggression”.

Marie was devastated.  She considers her pets to be family members and told me “they are not just animals”.  She requested the cats’ records but the pound refused to provide them, telling her she’d have to file an official FOIA request, which she has since done.   She also requested a copy of the pound’s policy regarding cat evaluations and staff training.

Marie says the pound manager told her the protocol for evaluating cats is for a staff member to attempt to touch the caged cat upon impound.  If the cat hisses or swats, the cat is killed.  It’s unclear to me whether either Binx or Prince was ever removed from the traps in which they were impounded or how the staff could have had the time or handling skills required to scan them for microchips in the 57 minutes each was allowed to live at the pound.

Marie’s children are 11, 9 and 7.  She had to deliver the tragic news to them about Binx and Prince.  She hopes that by speaking out publicly and demanding reform, she might prevent the same tragedy from happening to another family.  She told me while struggling through tears:

I don’t want another mother to have to tell her kids that their family members are never coming home.

Marie says the Odessa pound offered to chip her surviving cat, Mojo for free.  Marie declined because she didn’t want cat killers touching her only remaining cat.  Instead, she took Mojo and the family dog to a facility of her choosing to be chipped on Tuesday.

Let’s be clear:

Evaluating feline behavior upon impound is useless, unless the facility is actively seeking an excuse to kill cats.  It’s debatable whether cats can be reliably evaluated in a shelter environment at any time during a standard 3 – 5 day holding period but certainly at the time of impound (and after having been trapped) would have to be ruled out by anyone who cares about shelter animals.  And regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, no healthy/treatable cat should ever be killed for behavior.  Cats do not represent a threat to public safety based upon how much they fear humans or how much they love them.

Killing caged cats who hiss or swat is indicative of a shelter policy designed to give cat killers hard-ons.

Failing to hold cats for the designated period so their owners can reclaim them is inexcusable, regardless of whether a cat hisses.  Just because organizations like HSUS and Maddie’s Fund are encouraging shelters to eliminate holding periods for cats lacking identification doesn’t make such action any less offensive.  Pets are family.  Cat owners deserve the same opportunity as all other pet owners to reclaim their lost family members from shelters.

Refusing to provide copies of records to owners of pets who were needlessly killed is outrageous.  The technicalities of record requests can be sorted out later.  That’s just evil people twisting the knife around, at best.  Or maybe it’s people scrambling to falsify public records prior to release in an attempt to cover their asses, I don’t know.  In fact, Texas state law requires shelter records to be kept on site and to be made “available for inspection at reasonable times”.  I would suggest that during regular business hours while the owner of two lost pets your pound needlessly killed is standing there asking to see the records would qualify as a reasonable time.

“The dalmatian book” – seriously?  Do you people even hear yourselves anymore?

How many more horrors must be revealed at the Odessa pound before the city demands meaningful reform?

 

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41 Comments

  1. THIS IS TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE! I’m TIRED OF THE LIES AND COVERING THEIR ASSES! THEIR ACTIONS ARE UNFORGIVABLE AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY STOP! I’M SO EMBARRASSED THIS IS COMING FROM MY STATE! I TRULY BELIEVE IF YOUR ACTIONS CAN’T BE MADE PUBLIC, THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE!

    Reply
    • Isabel, this is not directed toward you personally but Texas shelters seem to have a problem. This is not the first time. You are certainly an advocate for the animals, plz join the No Kill Coalition.I think with the knowledge you gain about these shelters and the method of the Coalition. You can make great changes. I know that you can ROCK cause you’re angry enough. You go girl and keep us posted.

      Reply
      • I agree, Ruth! Odessa is NOT the, only, shelter in Texas that needs an overhaul…..Irving is one that comes to mind! On the other side of the coin Austin Pets Alive! – Texas Under the direction of Dr. Ellen Jefferson, APA has become a nationwide leader in the no-kill revolution. They are #1 on the list of 10 Amazing No-Kill Animal Shelters in the U.S. There are many other, really, horrid shelters [????] in other states! Devore in San Bernardino, Ca. might be worse then Odessa or on the same level! Just found this: Montgomery County Animal Shelter in Troy, N.C. killed 99% of their animals in 2012.
        [ http://www.wral.com/nc-shelter-kills-99-percent-of-animals-records-show/11778189/ ] Montgomery County Animal Shelter in North Carolina kills ALL cats!
        I should be emailing rescues right now for animals in “high-kill” shelters. I do this every evening & all night long! Have to get on it, NOW!

  2. mikken

     /  April 30, 2014

    Cat evaluations. I overheard a staffer at the shelter where I volunteer talking to a snarling, hissing cat – “Now, Annie, I just want to move you to a bigger cage. Don’t you want to be moved to a bigger cage? It’ll be nice – no, no don’t do that. There’s no need for violence. Let’s be nice, now. Can I move you to a bigger cage? No? Okay, maybe later…”

    Imagine my surprise

    Reply
    • You mean they weren’t like “Yay – we’ve got another one for the dalmatian book!”?

      Reply
      • mikken

         /  April 30, 2014

        Dalmatian book. Dafuq? I guess it’s easier than calling it the Corpse Log or the Dead List.

    • mikken

       /  April 30, 2014

      Sorry, new keyboard, hit wrong button. Continued –

      Imagine my surprise to find that very same cat (who really sounded like she wanted to kill the staffer at the time) in a big open room available for adoption! And she was super sweet and one of those “center of attention, love me now!” cats! I asked the staffer about her and she said, “Yeah, she wanted to kill me then, but she just needed a little time to adjust to the idea of being in a shelter. She’s fine, now.”

      So now you have cats who are trapped by a neighbor, God knows how they’ve been treated between trapping and shelter (some people just throw the traps in the back of the pick up truck and leave them there until they “get around to it”, no food, no water, bounced around in the back of the truck, maybe left in the sun, terrified and starved) and oh hey, the cat is freaked out – really? I’m so surprised to hear that.

      Cats need time to decompress. Quiet and darkness and safety and TIME. If you cannot provide that, then you cannot evaluate the cat’s behavior in any way, shape, or form.

      Most shelters have zero business doing cat evaluations. And killing cats for “behavior” is abhorrent.

      Reply
  3. The ONE bit of good news for animals in California this week is the death of AB 2343. “If passed, cats who entered shelters without identification in California could have been immediately taken from their families and given to for-profit companies, including, potentially, companies who sell animals to research labs. In fact, AB 2343 would have allowed (and in some cases required) shelters to give dogs and cats to for-profit companies to sell for any reason whatsoever. In the case of cats entering shelters without identification, shelters would have been able to adopt them out or give them to individuals who sell them the very moment the cat enters a shelter, the very day that animal became lost, and before a family was even given an opportunity to recognize that their cat was missing.”

    I’m sure if this had passed my local shelter would have BEEN ALL OVER this, emptying every kennel they could have! They LOVE to kill cats, so much so that I’ve requested an appointment to speak with the supervisor who represents the district in which I live. I’m just sick and tired of the killing, and places like Odessa needs to stop, fire and re-hire every person in their shelter who thinks the Dalmatian book is a good tool.

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  April 30, 2014

      Re-hire? Should just stop at the firing, I think.

      Reply
      • i have saved every YesBiscuit message I have gotten since I subscribed, a few weeks ago or so, but this is the, only, one I have read, so, far due to emailing rescues for hours trying to save animals from these wretched shelters. i haven’t read the other comments either, but plan on it. I have had cats ever since I was 10 years old & I am 71, now…..had one dog as an adult. & a few when I was younger. I LOVE ALL animals, but kitties are my favorite. What happened here….kitties hissing, swatting is their nature! OMG! This has happened at other shelters, also., with dogs as well as cats & one incident that I recall in my town many years ago. The community was outraged! I have been trying to help save animals in the South, New York, Arizona & California. They all have Very High-Kill shelters……North Carolina, Georgia, Florida & YES, this God awful Odessa! These places need to be shut down PERIOD, but that won’t happen! What happened to these 2 kitties, just, makes me sick! This lady needs to learn a lesson from this…..do NOT let your cats outside & keep an eye on the dog, who mustn’t run loose. Yes, I know, cats/dogs can get out very easily, especially, having kids going in & out the door. I live in Northern Indiana & they are stealing pets right out of locked, fenced in yards & off their porches. They sell them on Craig’s List, etc., & to these despicable Labs, & to these EVIL THUGS who fight dogs….for bait…..kitties, puppies, dogs, bunnies…..you name it. These poor babies are ripped to pieces. Humans can be SO EVIL! The Pit Bull gets a bad rap due to these dog fights. They are trained that way. Most Pits make great family pets! Cats get a bad rap, too. “Oh they kill the birds, etc.”! BS! Dogs do, too, Sorry, but that’s their nature & with the billions of birds in the sky…one killed once in awhile………… yes, I like birds, too, but come on! Sorry for the long message & I am truly sorry this happened to this lady’s kitties. It sounds like her neighbor is a real SOB! I’d be having a talk with him…..worthless POS!
        I, just, read through the other comments & agree with every one of you….EVERYTHING & will click on the link & read the proposed legislation. most of our governments could care less. They are, too, busy on their power trip sticking their noses in other countries business!

    • What the hell is wrong with shelters? Don’t they realize that if they have no animals, they wouldn’t have a job or are they just lazy and trying to lighten the work load! It’s disgusting to hear these tales when many jobless Americans would happily take the job and do it better? I’m glad I’m glad AB2343 didn’t go through! We have enough on our plates trying to save as many animals as I can! There has to be a way to get these shelters to adopt Redemption! How stupid can they be? They turn down a solution that is working in many cities and continue killing! Are they stupid or is there money to be gained in some unethical way? We must find a way to get ride of the sociopaths!

      Reply
      • I believe some of this is retaliation and money. Most are supported with donations and tax dollars. Why spend money on the animals? kill the animal and put the rest in your pocket. And Oh BTW, we had a nice easy day. It is actually cheaper to adopt the animals out than kill. Who ever is diverting the money needs an inspection.

  4. Karen F

     /  April 30, 2014

    Sorry, but this was not a tragedy. It was a crime. And a fucking outrage.

    Reply
    • You bet it was! I hope this family gets justice for what happened to them & those poor kitties! This shelter needs to be closed down. ALL shelters, like this one should be closed. San Bernardino in Cali. is another one on the same level as Odessa! AND those people’s neighbor…….lucky he’s not mine! B@$t@rd!!!!

      Reply
  5. db

     /  April 30, 2014

    Kill ’em before someone comes to take these evil, mean cats out . . . hard to believe that nothing continues to be done to stop these animal-killing lunatics. GEEZ . . .

    Reply
  6. I’m so damned tired of the constant killing! There has to be an answer to put a stop to this abhorrent policy! People working in shelters are psycho and get their kicks from killing! We have to stop this!

    Reply
  7. Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog and commented:
    Shame on the Odessa Pound management.

    Reply
  8. Lori Baker

     /  April 30, 2014

    so sick and tired of it
    seems we are beating our heads against a damn wall
    they PROMISE change-the only CHANGE I have seen is the STAFF has nice new offices and the kennels are still SHIT!!

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

     /  April 30, 2014

    I doubt they checked to see if the cats were neutered before killing them as that might have given them a hint that they were pets! Also, one man bringing in a lot of cats to a shelter would make me question his motives and he probably knew that the shelter would kill them! I do not understand why shelters allow someone to bring in a lot of trapped cats without questioning them.

    Reply
    • Kathryn Hargreaves

       /  April 30, 2014

      In Los Angeles, cats are caught in a Catch 22, where it is legal for them to roam free, but if they walk on someone’s property, the property owner can legally trap them and take them to the pound. The pounds kill 75% of the cats and kittens they take in. However, one guy who was bringing in a lot of cats got caught trapping on the cats owner’s own property, so they banned him from borrowing traps. That has not been the case with the many other cat trappers in town, though. What’s this city’s cat-trapping policy?

      Reply
    • Why????? Because they hate cats! there are shelters that don’t, even, show the cats to potential adopters. They, just, kill them & usually, immediately! So many EVIL people!

      Reply
    • What type of traps are these, Kathryn?

      Reply
      • Kathryn Hargreaves

         /  May 2, 2014

        The ones I’ve seen stacked in a corner at one of the city pounds are humane ones, Tru-Catch brand (the best, unless an animal jumps around too much and gets its neck caught in a semi-opened door).

    • Must attend council meeting and have this concern listed to be addressed during that meeting and every meeting there after till they stop the killing.

      Reply
  10. seabrooksr

     /  May 1, 2014

    I live in a city with a cat-trap bylaw, and after carefully considering the pros and cons, I support this bylaw.
    Of course, there are some considerations that make me feel that way.
    The city charges a fee ($60 last time I checked) to rent these traps to people who feel that they have cats in their neighborhood that they feel are in need (starving, pregnant, requiring veterinary care, etc) or are “nuisances” (garbage cats, sprayers, garden wreckers, etc).
    Cat trappers are required to agree to use the traps humanely, and they can bring the cat to animal control themselves or call an AC officer to pick the cat up.
    If an owned cat is trapped, as long as they are registered ($30 yearly for a spayed cat), they may not even make it to the pound if they have good ID, and even if they don’t, once they are claimed the first ride home is free! Under the City’s Free Ride Home program, at-large pets with a valid pet license can be taken directly home by an officer free of charge once every 12 months. (And the animal control officer is able to talk to the owners off the record about how their cat may be posing a nuisance in the area).
    Non-registered cats must pay a fine and register before their owners can take them home.
    The second time, third, fourth, etc times the owner must go to the pound to pick their cat up and pay any holding costs ($10 per day), but there is no real penalty other than the “nuisance” of it all.
    But then, again, all incoming animals are held for a mandatory three business days, ten is they have identification, aggressive or not, which I think is the heart of the matter;

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  May 2, 2014

      What happens if you can’t pay the $10 per day fee? Or the fine and registration fee AND the $10 per day fee? Do they kill your cat?

      On the face of it, it sounds like “we want responsible ownership of cats”, but on reflection, it sounds a lot like “poor people don’t deserve to have pets”.

      Reply
    • The heart of what matter???? That these 2 cats were aggressive, so, they were put down within an hour of being taken in???????? Sorry, but I am not buying that! ALL cats will defend themselves ,if they feel threatened. That’s in their nature. This particular shelter does this to ALL animals. It’s one of the worst in the country. San Bernardino is another. Oh, there are many more…..none of which civilized people call ,humane!! This neighbor, if he were a good neighbor, would warn the owners, what he planned on doing if she didn’t keep them inside! I sympathize with this lady, but this was no fault of her cats, but herself & family.for letting them run loose. ….UNLESS they sneak out & even dogs to this….even normally well-behaved dogs….S! If this was the case, my apologies! I do feel bad ’cause I LOVE cats as I do ALL animals! Living in that area, she should know what a HORRID, EXTREMELY INHUMANE shelter Odessa is. I don’t want to hear anymore “I love animals” from some people ’cause it’s clear you do not like cats!

      There are some very cheap remedies for keeping cats away from your flower beds!
      “You can plant things to discourage cats, such as geranium, pennyroyal, rue, lavender, garlic, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and other strongly scented plants. You can also lay chicken wire in your flower beds, as cats dislike like walking on wire. In addition to chicken wire, you can use pine cones, nut shells, and short stakes to discourage cats from walking in your yard; cats also don’t like walking on coffee grounds and eggshells, both of which happen to make great fertilizer. Some people find that an automatic sprinkler does the trick when it comes to getting rid of stray cats.”

      Reply
  11. S

     /  May 2, 2014

    I love cats and I am a big animal lover, but if your animal is on someone’s property and causing issues, that property owner should have the right to trap. I have some very close friends that do not have cats but all of the neighborhood cats use their flower beds as a litter box. It is disgusting and the smell is horrendous. If they decided to trap these cats for this reason, why should they be fined because someone else’s animal isn’t controlled and comes on their property? They have 2 dogs and those animals are very well taken care of, so you can’t say they are animal haters. Don’t judge unless you have all of the facts. I would do the same thing if I was having to clean up after someone else’s animals. I don’t think this makes him a POS or an animal abuser.

    Reply
    • Have your friends buy a huge package of black pepper and sprinkle it on the flower bed regularly, especially after it’s rained and such. Cats like pepper in their faces about as much as humans like it.

      Reply
  12. Teri

     /  May 2, 2014

    Of course animals come off as aggressive in a pound situation! You would think that these workers would know this! I have adopted all of my animals and they all showed signs of stress. Who wouldn’t? I got them home and within 2 weeks they were all settled in like they always lived here. Try being put in a cage, in an unfamiliar place with tons of noise and smells and see how you would react.

    Reply
  13. Cathy Lux

     /  May 2, 2014

    If someone was trapping my cats and having them killed I would be infuriated. That person sounds like a jerk. The pristine purity of his dirt is more important than my pets’ lives? He sounds like a sanctimonious crackpot. I would publicize his deeds far and wide to the entire community and I’ll bet this family is not the only cat owner on the block.

    Reply
  14. Anne Thomas

     /  May 2, 2014

    S, the group I’m involved with, Laurel TNR, buys and distributed something called CatStops. They cost around $40 and they have a motion detector that triggers a spray of water when cats go by. The people we’ve given them to have been pleased with how effectively they keep cats out of their yards.

    Kathryn, I really like Tru-Catch traps, but I’ve had trouble with cats getting out, especially through the front door. I now secure both doors right after the cat goes in.

    Reply
  15. Oh I would be so pissed!!!

    Reply
  16. Connie

     /  May 4, 2014

    Shame on Odessa Animal Shelter for killing someone’s pet! Citizens of Odessa ….let the Mayor and City Council members know this is not acceptable. Also the right people need to be voted in for Mayor and City Council members if animal welfare is not a priority to the Mayor and Council members. People…. ask to speak at the City Council Meeting and tell them that this is not acceptable and as a tax payer you expect for this to not happen from the city staff you pay taxes to pay their salary. Also, you expect more from the City Officials to not let this happen EVER AGAIN! There should be consequences for the staff that did this to their pet. The kitty should have been held for at the very least 3 days to see if the owner came in and made a lost report. City officials, this is not only horrible that this pet was needlessly killed but real bad on your City image.

    Reply
    • I agree with everything you say, except 3 days is not long enough! I have friends who were looking for their pet in one of our shelters & it was hidden in another room here years ago….pure bred black Chow puppy! They returned to this shelter & were persistent & found their dog. Someone tipped them off! The shelter gets more money for pure bred! Another dog, was found & put down within a couple days or sooner. The family arrived at the shelter & the dog had just been put down…..wasn’t, even, given the time it was should have been allowed….2 different shelters here. Things have made a big change since then! I’d be raising all kinds of hell if that were my kitties! I pray these people do. Too, many so-called shelters are getting by with horrid things & it MUST STOP! San Bernardino city shelter does the same damn thing! I email rescues for animals in “high-kill” shelters & you wouldn’t believe the horrid things I find out! What happened to this family, is happening at many rotten shelters!

      Reply
  17. I don’t think places like this should have the right to call themselves “SHELTER” because they clearly have no idea what the word means.
    “Shelter: a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance, to protect from danger.”

    Reply
    • I have said this many times & you would not believe how many we have in this country! There should be a law against these awful places! SHUT THEM DOWN!!!!!

      Reply
  18. F**K that place! SUE their asses off!

    Reply

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