• September 19, 2014

Animal control under scrutiny

Killeen police say little about investigation

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Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:52 pm, Sat Aug 23, 2014.

Killeen police remain mum on the topic of its Animal Control facility, which has become embroiled in an internal investigation centering on the department’s supervisor, Stacie Sherva.

City officials placed Sherva on paid administrative leave Oct. 4 while the Killeen Police Department’s Internal Affairs division investigates alleged policy violations and complaints of improper animal care at the facility.

“We haven’t been privy to a whole lot of information,” said Wayne Gilmore, a Killeen councilman who sits on the Animal Advisory Committee.

Since Oct. 4, KPD Commander Lee Caufield assumed the supervisor role. Caufield already oversaw Animal Control before Sherva was placed on leave. However, he is now at the facility on a daily basis, overseeing a staff of 12.

No photos, please

Though Caufield said the investigation has nothing to do with conditions at the facility, KPD refused to allow any Herald photographer on site to photograph the shelter’s interior despite it being a public building — built and operated with taxpayer money. They did let a Herald reporter on site to look around the shelter.

Councilman Jonathan Okray, chairman of the Animal Advisory Committee, said the city has been able to keep any problems at the shelter

out of the public eye “under the guise of a personnel issue.”

“You’re funded publicly, nothing should be private,” Okray said.

Police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said the department wants to keep Animal Control employees away from the media. Administrators have instituted a “standing order” to all police employees, including animal control, to not speak to any media about the happenings at 3118 Commerce Drive, where the shelter is located.

“They’re looking at it that way because it will be destructive to the employees,” Miramontez said. “It will make them feel uncomfortable.”

Gilmore said that concerns him, but those issues arise when an ongoing investigation centers around how a facility operates.

“You always have concerns about something like that,” Gilmore said. “Like they said, it’s turned over to the police.”

Refusal to clean

George Fox, a prominent member of Killeen’s animal rescue and the head of Assisi Animal Refuge, said he had brought complaints to staff before regarding conditions at the shelter. Fox specifically mentioned the area of Animal Control that houses cats, which he said has been consistently “filthy.”

Fox also said he attempted to teach staff to help clean the infected eyes of some of the kittens there, but staff refused to do it.

“They had time to do it, they just didn’t want to do it,” Fox said. “They would just kill them and have a new group of kittens the next day.”

Through August, Animal Control euthanized more than one-third of the animals that moved through the facility in 2013, according to statistics provided by the city. In total, 1,402 animals were killed this year at the facility.

The rate has declined from the same period last year, when Animal Control euthanized 1,531 animals, which was then nearly 40 percent of the animals taken into the shelter.

Fox said he thinks the adoption rate at the facility is too low as well. He also is a member of the Animal Advisory Committee and requested a detailed explanation as to why more animals are not leaving the facility in the hands of new owners.

According to the city’s budget, officials project a 35 percent rate of adoption for animals at the shelter. This year, the shelter averaged an adoption rate of 28 percent.

“I want to know what do they plan to do about it,” Fox said. “Life is a whole lot easier in the animal community if we have a better adoption rate.”

Though the adoption rate is low, the number of animals transferred to no-kill shelters is more than twice what officials projected.

The Killeen Animal Shelter is the largest animal shelter between Waco and Austin. It housed 73 dogs, 42 cats and one rabbit on Friday, its website stated.

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5 comments:

  • jbtsr posted at 5:17 pm on Sun, Oct 27, 2013.

    jbtsr Posts: 72

    Sell them to China. Stop wasting money, start making money.

     
  • mzfitz posted at 11:03 am on Sun, Oct 27, 2013.

    mzfitz Posts: 19

    They should check out the CC one too, I was in there last Feb and there was a lot to be desired... Lazy lazy lazy.

     
  • Willie M posted at 10:35 am on Sun, Oct 27, 2013.

    Willie M Posts: 2

    12 employees at the Killeen Shelter? Is it really necessary for that many employees?

    I have my own story to tell on 'laziness' about the animal control employees with an incident that occurred between 2001-1004 (not exactly sure of the time). But then as I said, that's another story!

    Wondering why the citizens of Killeen cannot just go in under the guise of a potential adopter and snap a few cell phone pictures of the cage conditions and send to Killeen Daily Herald reporter??? It can be easily done, unless they do not allow cell phones/cameras inside facility by tax paying public citizens??

    This story raises a lot of questions about the animal care...and I think it's time those questions are asked AND answered! The facility is funded by the tax payers of Killeen.

    Not cleaning kittens eyes? It takes a few minutes of the employees time to do this. I know, because I've done it myself for my own kitten that we found. I did it several times a day too!

     
  • Willie M posted at 10:24 am on Sun, Oct 27, 2013.

    Willie M Posts: 2

    [thumbup] @OldWoman 's post.

     
  • OldWoman posted at 10:12 am on Sun, Oct 27, 2013.

    OldWoman Posts: 28

    Just for a fact check: The number of animals on the city website is mostly not the true number. Animals that are neither stray nor up for adoption are listed on the website. It doe snot list the animals they house for quarantine, or sick animals that are not adoptable, or litters that are too young to be adopted - so the number in the facility - at any given time - is likely to be greater than what the site lists.

    If I can give the public one good piece of advice it is this: Listen to George Fox. As far as I know he is the most knowledgeable here in Killeen about animal care policies, laws and practices.