Update: City of Midland to investigate animal death

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2023 at 10:45 AM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - The City of Midland announced a third-party investigation will be conducted into the euthanization of a pet on Aug. 12.

The city released the following statement.

“The City of Midland has retained an outside firm to conduct an investigation [of] the August 12, 2023 incident at Midland Animal Services. We take the care of the animals in our facility very seriously and we are committed to improving our processes where needed.”

City officials declined an interview with CBS7 on the topic. The original story about Luna’s death is below.

A device the size of a grain of rice may be the difference between finding your lost pet or not.

That device is a microchip and today is national Check the Chip Day. The day comes amid the death of Luna, a Midland dog who was euthanized before her owner could find her.

“That’s our message. That we don’t want this to happen again,” said Tommy Gonzalez, Midland city manager.

Luna arrived at Midland animal services on Aug. 11.

“We scanned her for a microchip. She did not have one so we did not know she had an owner,” said Melissa Griffin, Midland Animal Services director.

The dog was then vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped and placed in a pod.

Luna’s owner posted she was missing last week. Her death was announced yesterday. She was euthanized before her owner could find her.

“Again, very unfortunate what occurred and the staff is heartbroken over it,” Gonzalez said.

Midland Animal Services staff say she had an illness. The shelter’s veterinarian said there are currently stricter protocols in the shelter due to an untreatable dog virus making its way across the U.S.

“No. We don’t know what kind of infection it was. It appears to be an upper respiratory disease. There is currently an outbreak happening in the last few months,” Veterinarian Christen Bolotov said.

The city will investigate Luna’s case.

“The fact that it happened so quickly and it was exposed to that environment, that’s the question that I have, that we have, and we’ve been looking at,” Gonzalez said. “I think that the bottom line is that it was a healthy animal when it came in, we think, and that’s the concern.”

Officials say a microchip may have been the solution. They said they’re looking at ways to offer more affordable microchipping services, alongside improving animal services so this never happens again.

“We really want everyone in our community to have their pets microchipped so we never have to wonder if this pet does belong to someone,” said Katlyn Walthall, director of community outreach and fundraising at Fix West Texas.

It’s a quick procedure that is completed by placing a needle between the dog’s shoulder blades. It inserts a device the size of a grain of rice that corresponds with a tracking number.

Fix West Texas can’t be sure it would’ve saved her life, but to honor Luna, they’re offering pay-what-you-can microchipping this month.

“It’s a tragedy, but my hope is that we can learn from it and share that information on how to keep pets safe, as well as push Midland Animal services to do better,” Walthall said.

Luna’s owner was not available for an on-camera interview.

Officials say the best way to keep your pet safe is to microchip, fix and vaccinate and be sure they are unable to run away.