TEMPLE — Two Rogers residents claim a Bell County animal control officer took their three healthy dogs from their property Wednesday and had the animals euthanized the same day without any notice.
The Bell County Sheriff’s Department claims a dead dog underneath a shed on the property died from canine parvovirus, so the remaining three had to be put down because the disease is highly contagious.
Now it seems to be a case of “he said, she said.”
Ramos said a sick stray dog apparently died under the shed, but his dogs were vaccinated for parvovirus about a month ago, and he’d done it himself with supplies he bought from Tractor Supply Company.
He also said his main dog, Kenai, had no blood in his stool, always ate plenty of food, was very fit and had no problems breathing.
Ramos said he crawled under the shed himself and got his dogs for the animal control officer. He said the officer then told him he had to turn them over to the officer or pay $900. The officer told him to take the dead dog, “bag it up and take it to the dump,” Ramos added.
Later that day when Ramos called the shelter to ask how much it would cost to pick up Kenai, he was told the three dogs had been “destroyed,” he said.
Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Donnie Adams said the officer didn’t do anything wrong, and went to the property because the dogs had been reported as strays that were “at large.”
“At large” means the animals were off the premises and not restrained by a leash, cord, chain, halter, cage or other means of confinement.
“The dogs were handed over to the officer by the person who said he was the owner. He gave them up and said he didn’t want them,” Adams said, adding that the owner said the dead dog had parvo.
Ramos said he didn’t tell the officer it had parvo.
He said it was a dog that showed up and looked sick, so they’d been trying to run it off. He said he told the officer he didn’t know if the dog had parvo.
“I said I didn’t know, just that I knew it looked sick,” Ramos said.
The officer examined the dogs and determined that they looked sick, and that no veterinarians would look at them in their office because of how contagious canine parvovirus is, Adams said.
“We can’t take them into a kennel at all. We usually keep animals for a period of time, but we can’t when they have parvo. We followed established procedures,” Adams said.
Procedures for strays
Section 3 of the 1981 Rabies Control Act and other related rules adopted by the Bell County Commissioners Court state that any dog in an unincorporated area of Bell County that is allowed to run at large is a public nuisance and can be impounded and put in an authorized animal shelter.
The animal control officer or law enforcement officer may issue the owner a citation.
The section also states that an impounded dog or cat will be kept in the shelter for at least three working days before being released for adoption unless the owner picks it up before that deadline, and the shelter must wait at least five working days before destroying an animal. That deadline cannot include the day the animal is impounded.
Dr. Gary Gosney said he sees parvovirus at Temple Veterinary Hospital almost daily and said the virus is very prevalent in Central Texas.
“Parvo is treated all the time. The success rate depends upon the animal’s age and how long it has been sick,” Gosney said.
Treatment includes isolation, proper sterilization by those handling the animal and intravenous fluids. It can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200 to treat a dog with parvo, he said.
“Officers can bring the animals in, but they haven’t ever brought one here. They usually just take the dogs to the shelter,” he said.