Texas – In addition to the Klein Animal Shelter’s director, who was charged with multiple counts including felony animal cruelty, another former employee who was certified to kill animals has been arrested and charged with cruelty. A third arrest is expected today. The Jacksonville police chief is asking former pound employees who witnessed crimes to contact police and give a statement.
The cities who contracted with the Klein facility for animal control are all developing individual plans for handling lost and homeless pets. Tragically, the city of Tyler “is developing euthanasia guidelines to manage populations long term” instead of embracing a proven model which would make lifesaving a priority.
Klein is being emptied out by private rescue groups. All the cats are now out of the building and a number of dogs have been removed as well. The killing apologist who was “not surprised” to hear that dogs were being kicked to death and cats were being strangled at Klein because it’s a hard job and blah, is quoted in several articles complaining that no one is giving her any animals. I put that down as a win for the pets.
Meanwhile, KLTV decided to follow the money. Specifically, the city of Tyler has been contracting the Klein facility to take its animals since 2007:
Invoices on record with the city of Tyler indicate that Klein Animal Shelter was paid between $43.00 and $72.00 for each domestic animal. Over the past five months, the charges totaled $57,341.50 paid to the shelter for 557 cats, 626 dogs, and one ferret.
Tyler is just one of several cities that reportedly paid Klein for AC services. I wonder if Klein’s books will show how the money was spent, seeing as strangling cats to death is you know, free.
KLTV also raises the issue of accountability:
With charges against shelter employees mounting on the heels of a six-month investigation by police, the scrutiny now turns to whether any entity was required to monitor the shelter.
[Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 823] requires that the shelter separate animals by species, sex, and size; comply with housing and sanitation laws; and that the governing city or municipality appoint an advisory committee to assist with compliance.
So was there an advisory committee? And if so, what have they been doing all these years while animals were being tortured and killed on the taxpayer’s dime? Where is the committee now? Maybe they are with the Klein Animal Shelter board of directors – in a spider hole.
Our shelter system is broken, in part due to the fact that there are little to no legal requirements for transparency and accountability. Too many cities and counties attempt to hide what’s happening at the local shelter while shielding the animal abusers who work there. Employees at these facilities know they are free to starve, torture and kill animals at will. And it’s literally no one’s job to poke their head in the place once a year to see what’s going on and file a public report. Municipalities keep taxing their residents, writing checks to animal abusers and calling it a day. Taxpayers deserve better. Animals deserve better. Only one of us can advocate for reform.
(Thank you Clarice and Arlene for the links.)
UPDATE, added January 22: A total of three Klein employees have now been arrested and charged in connection with this case. Director Angela Wallace was arrested last week and KLTV reports some details on the other two:
Jason Craft was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to non-livestock animals. His bond was set at $1,000. Ashley Ruhl was charged with felony cruelty to non-livestock animals – torture. Her bond was set at $2,500.
Both Craft and Ruhl posted bond and have been released.
From there, the article spirals down into blame the public hysteria and the myth of pet overpopulation so be forewarned. It seems that even in the face of criminal charges against shelter workers, some people are still willing to levy their harsh judgment against us regular folks who happen to love and own pets.
(Thanks Clarice for the update.)