UPDATED: Arrest Warrants Issued for TX Pound Employees: Multiple Charges Include Animal Torture

CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE – That’s the sign hanging on the door at the Klein Animal Shelter in Jacksonville, TX.  The “maintenance” appears to be arresting the workers for torturing animals.  Director Angela Wallace was arrested on Friday and charged with assault, illegal “euthanasia” and animal cruelty with additional charges pending.  She has reportedly bonded out.  Arrest warrants have been issued for 3 other pound employees and additional arrests are possible.  The arrests come after police were tipped off to criminal activity at the pound and a 6 month investigation was conducted.

It sounds like the staff may have known what was coming and tried their best to hide evidence by hastily killing every animal whose condition could be used against them in court:

Dr. Gary Spence, of Spence and White Veterinary Hospital, says at first, his inspection of Klein Animal Shelter after Wallace’s arrest revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

“What I saw was a clean facility. They had obviously gone in and cleaned it with some heavy duty cleaning. We went cage to cage to cage and just saw healthy animals,” he says.

But Dr. Spence says that changed when he got to the shelter’s freezers.

“I just kind of went blank… I opened the second one and it was full to the top and none of the animals in it were frozen. They had all been in there less than 24 hours,” says Dr. Spence.

He says dozens of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens were all hastily euthanized before an inspection by the state.

But apparently there were still some abused animals left after the freezer was full.  A chihuahua was found with both his front legs broken, having been left to suffer at the pound for more than a month without care.  A dog with a broken back was left untreated in a cage for 7 days, unable to move out of his own waste.  The dog will now receive lifesaving surgery but will be paralyzed.

The Department of State Health Services revoked the facility’s rabies quarantine certification on Friday:

DSHS issues rabies quarantine certifications to shelters that show they meet minimum standards to assure that animals can be humanely and effectively quarantined.

Obviously the Klein facility no longer qualified as meeting those minimum standards, what with all the animal torture arrests and such.

Even so, there will always be killing apologists:

“I’m not surprised, the Klein shelter has been overburdened for a number of years,” says Debora Dobbs, director of operations at SPCA East Texas, “To take on a city the size of Tyler, for them to try and service those animals, we as the SPCA never felt like they were really large enough to do that without a very high volume of euthanasia.”

Disgusting.  And patently false.  Also:  totally creepy, considering we’re talking about people being criminally charged for torturing animals here.

There are still approximately 100 animals at the pound and private rescues are willing to help.  Municipalities that contracted with Klein for AC are taking their animals elsewhere for the time being.

I’m hoping there will be some additional information available on this story today.  Please let me know if you see something.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for the links.)

UPDATE, added January 20:  I haven’t seen anything new on the additional arrest warrants that were issued.  But a former employee told KETK that when she worked at the Klein pound, she saw many dogs put into cages then killed within 5 minutes, never receiving any opportunity for vet care, behavioral assessment or even a kind word.

Dr. Spence, the veterinarian who discovered all the freshly killed pets piled to the top of the freezer, says there are still 100 living animals inside the pound and the board won’t accept help:

“Got their door locked,” said Spence. “They wont let the SPCA or Nicholas Pet Haven in. They won’t let them in to take some of these animals. Supposedly, their board has been in an emergency meeting for the last three days, so their making it difficult.”

“We need to think up some way to explain how we knew nothing of the animal torture and killing going on right under our noses all this time.  We’re keeping the door locked until we have some sort of defense fabricated to cover our asses.  No one’s getting in to help the animals.  Fuck the animals.  That’s the last thing we should be worried about.” – Three day emergency board meeting, probably.

15 thoughts on “UPDATED: Arrest Warrants Issued for TX Pound Employees: Multiple Charges Include Animal Torture

  1. And the horrors continue, and the killing apologists keep spewing the same rhetoric. There is NO reason this should have ever happened, I don’t care where or when! I’m glad that they checked the freezer – clearly the employees were simply killing the evidence. RIP all of the dogs and cats, puppies and kittens who were abused, neglected and killed at the hands of these “humans”. You deserved so much better. Now I hope that things will really change for those left behind.

  2. The fact that there are multiple arrests should be EXTREMELY concerning. There is apparently a culture at this place that endorses abuse and torture. Who was in charge of oversight? And why wasn’t this stopped before now?

  3. Lets us also remember to support whistleblowers, both emotionally and financially because this happens when people who you hire are afraid to stand up to you and tell you that a job can’t be done on your budget or with you restrictions without all the blame falling back on them. This happens because whistleblowers often to no get the support they need to protect them from community hazing, economic impact of their actions and so forth. So coming from someone who knows better and who has been there all should be punished who enabled this system and cycle of abuse to be maintained.

  4. Nicholas Pet Haven took some and they may have more info as time goes on. They have a facebook page and a web site I believe.
    Also, I sometimes feel overburdened, can I get a pass to torture and kill at whim?
    Or at all? Somehow I think not.
    I hope to live long enough to see the same laws applied to everyone, shelters should have the same rules any other person with animals has. I have to feed, water and give medical treatment as needed. It’s not a particularly high bar.
    The belly rubs aren’t compulsory but I can’t resist.
    Honestly, these officials don’t think, just spew the same old lies and excuses and hope the public shows a similar lack of thought.

    1. You won’t get a pass from any compassionate member of the public but I’m guessing that director of the local SPCA would shrug it off pretty easily. Oh and she wouldn’t be surprised either. Because overburdened. So torture.

  5. Follow the money-the shelter obviously received money for taking in animals, probably a contract but it sounds like the shelter spent the majority of the money on killing! I hope the authorities investigate the financial part of it also.

    1. I agree with this. Who benefited from the system as it was operating, and how did the money work? As cruel as these people were, I suspect that killing was not their goal, but rather something they were more than willing to do on the way to something else, likely money.

  6. Check to see if funds given for the animals went into a city account; where it could be used for the library, the streets, or any other dept. the city mgr wished to use the money for. Just sayin’ from past experience at another city. Expose what is hidden in darkness and truth will prevail.

  7. “Shelters” such as this MUST be shut down. Period. NO board meetings. No administrative leave for directors, none of that. All the animals must be moved to other shelters and all employees should be fired and the agency’s license revoked.

  8. One of the problems with this kind of set up where a shelter claims “non-profit” status is that they really do not have to answer to anyone. The public does not have any rights to look at their operations or budget or paper work. In my small town we have one of these non-profit shelters and they refuse to give out any information about their euthanasia rates, how much they spend on vet care, dog/cat food, or even salaries. They contract with our city for animal control services and the taxpayer is supporting it but there is no accountability if the public cannot scrutinize their records. It is the worst of both worlds b/c they get tax money but they do not fall under any Freedom of Information Act or state sunshine laws. Really a scam in my opinion.

    1. Well that’s what Jennifer Lee thought when, according to one source I interviewed alleged she told them, “I don’t have to show you anything, we are non-profit.” This is absolutely false. By reviewing the shelter’s 990s I found out the shelter had taken in over 1.6 million dollars from 2009 to 2013 and spent less than $100,000 on veterinary care and medicine. I have investigated a number of non-profits and I always start by looking at their federal tax returns, the Form 990 which is available from sites like Guidestar. Normally, you will not find a smoking gun by reviewing the 990s, but in this case I did. See my post where Lee was paid over $4,000 for “bookkeeping” services in 2013. The returns also include organization’s board of directors names and addresses and the highest paid employee, which in this case was Angela Wallace. For example Wallace received a $5,585 raise and making her salary $43,315 while the shelter decreased its spending on vet care a little over $30,000. In 2013 the amount the shelter paid was a little over $25,000

      According to the IRS the organization MUST provide upon request its Form 1023, most recent 990 and its Letter of Determination and supporting documents. In this case Lee refused, referring me to their attorney who told me the 1023 and LOD were lost. He promised since October to provide me a copy and he has thus far failed to do so. He knew I was a reporter, I can imagine what he would have told a general member of the public requesting the information.

      Linda if you are in Texas submit a written open records act request to the City Manager or clerk requesting a copy of the contract and all invoices and payments pertaining to the shelter for say a two year period. If they fail to provide it to you, complain to the Attorney General who will make them comply with the law. Go to Guidestar and look at the 990s posted. Then request from the shelter’s executive the 1023 and LOD with supporting documents. They can charge a nominal fee for copying, but nothing substantial. Here is good resource for reading the 990 http://www.npccny.org/new990/new990.htm

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