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.