SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) — Some disturbing allegations involving Sugar Land’s Animal Services shelter came to light Friday after dozens of animals were improperly euthanized.
The City of Sugar Land revealed it launched an investigation after learning about unauthorized euthanizations at its animal shelter.
“We’re (upset),” Doug Adolph, a spokesperson for the City of Sugar Land, said.
“This was a violation of public trust. Our initial reaction when we found out animals had been euthanized in our facility was shock, which quickly turned to disappointment. As the numbers increased, it became anger, bordering on rage,” he said.
At least 38 dogs and cats were reportedly euthanized since April without the proper authorization. The employees involved in the investigation claimed the animals were either aggressive or had a medical diagnosis.
“The animals needed to have been sent to a veterinarian for consultation, and we also need a behaviorist to evaluate the animal,” Adolph said.
Neither of those things occurred.
According to the city, veterinarians are supposed to complete a full evaluation to determine if euthanization is medically necessary and if so, it must be done under direct supervision.
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If the animals needed to be euthanized for behavioral issues, it should be discussed with a certified behaviorist, but these protocols were not followed, according to the city.
“They knew what they were doing was wrong, and they did it anyway,” Adolph said.
The city said five animal service employees were fired, and the shelter manager resigned before termination.
In a release, the City of Sugar Land stated they “will continue working to implement any training and protocols needed to ensure this never happens again.”
The city said they would temporarily reassign employees from other offices and departments to help the remaining Animal Service employees until more are hired.
The city confirmed services at the animal shelter are not expected to change.
“We are going to revisit training protocols and the procedures that are in place so that everybody understands that what happened was wrong and it’s never going to happen again,” Adolph said.
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