Warning: Some images at the second link and some material in this post is disturbing.
When Fox 26 reported on July 9 that police were investigating the Baytown Animal Shelter in Texas, Mike Lester, the Baytown health director in charge of the facility, said police hadn’t yet interviewed him for the investigation. He also said no employees had come to him with allegations of wrongdoing at the pound.
Yesterday Lauren Hartis, a former ACO at the pound, went public with her whistleblowing evidence which prompted the police investigation. Former ACO Hartis “says she saw fellow employees commit animal cruelty on a daily basis.” And she states she had met with Mike Lester to discuss her concerns:
“I did go to Mike Lester,” Hartis said. “I sat in Mike Lester’s office for more than an hour and he wrote down everything I said on a pad of paper.”
[…] Hartis says Lester reviewed shelter videos and told her euthanasia laws were indeed being broken.
Former ACO Hartis says she resigned after 15 months on the job because she could not stand it any longer. Among the allegations being made against the Baytown Animal Shelter:
- Dogs and cats were routinely killed in full view of other pets, sometimes in stacked cages, other times in a large group cage.
- Cats were ensnared in chokepoles, slammed to the ground and strangled to death by employees.
- Trapped cats were drowned in a pond on the pound’s property, their bodies left floating.
- Botched injections of euthanasia solution resulted in animals crying out in pain and terror.
Earlier this month, animal advocates attended a city council meeting to ask for new management at the pound:
One angry volunteer told city council, “You don’t have an animal shelter gentlemen you have a death camp.”
No argument there.
If substantiated by the police investigation, these allegations appear to violate state law so hopefully all involved will be prosecuted. At the very least, I would think the Baytown city council would suspend the staff for the duration of the investigation due to the heinous nature of the allegations. Let the volunteers run the place for now. I think it’s reasonable to make the case that the animals at the pound are in extreme danger if even one of these allegations is true. Local residents must demand city leaders take immediate action to protect the animals.
(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)