Note: This is the latest post following the animal cruelty arrests of 3 employees of the Klein Animal Shelter in Texas. The previous posts are here and here. Some details may be disturbing to sensitive readers.
Acting on a tip, two inspectors from the Texas Department of State Health Services made a surprise inspection at the Klein Animal Shelter on January 14. Angela Hopkins and veterinarian Melinda Hergert found director Angela Wallace and a volunteer were the only people inside the facility. The volunteer was washing dishes in “filthy water”:
“This is not an unusual finding, and Angela Wallace has been told before about dirty dish and mop water,” Hergert said.
Wallace told Dr. Hergert that she hadn’t taken a day off in 3 months until the day prior and that she walked into the shelter in its current state that morning. Inspectors found that most cages were full of urine and feces, some overflowing, and many cages were too small for the dogs they housed.
Wallace was cleaning outdoor runs on the shelter’s back porch where several dogs were stacked in carriers. The crated dogs had no bedding and had been left outside all night in the sub-freezing temperatures, shivering in their own waste. One of the crated puppies had been impounded with parvo and left to freeze to death. Dr. Hergert notes in her report that Wallace had been told in past that dogs can not be housed outdoors in crates. Wallace told the vet that after cleaning, she intended to get the intakes registered and start killing animals.
Inside, Dr. Hergert found two runs housing dams with litters. A litter of six puppies, including one deceased pup, were all huddled together on a floor covered in waste and pools of dried blood. The mama dog had her chin resting on the dead pup. They had no bedding and one bowl containing “old or contaminated food”. In her report, Ms. Hopkins described the bowl as having “a substance in it that I could not identify” with mold on top.
The volunteer told Dr. Hergert that she had informed Wallace of the dead puppy in the cage. When asked by Dr. Hergert, Wallace denied any knowledge of the deceased pup and stopped cleaning to remove the pup. At that point, Dr. Hergert called police to report that they had better come to the shelter because animal cruelty was taking place.
In addition to the two dead pups, inspectors also found two severely injured dogs who had been left to suffer in filth – one with a broken back who was unable to move and another with two broken legs that had been wrapped in a soft, dirty bandage without any stabilizing support.
Cats were also housed inhumanely, some in filthy crates, with overflowing litter boxes and dirty food and water bowls. Ms. Hopkins states that Wallace had been told several times in past that this inappropriate housing is unacceptable.
Although no past inspection reports on the Klein shelter have been published, the references to previous warnings about sub-standard practices leave little doubt that the situation on January 14 was not the result of the director taking a day off. And since these deficiencies were previously noted, what action was taken to ensure compliance? Were Wallace’s employers notified that the person they were paying to run the shelter lacks basic dishwashing skills? How could they possibly have entrusted rabies quarantine and public health issues to this person? Did anyone from any of the municipalities which contracted with Klein ever actually visit the place? Where is the accountability for this condemnable use of taxpayer dollars?
(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for the links.)