Midland rescue says 2 dogs unnecessarily euthanized, city responds

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:53 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Fix West Texas alleged two animals were unnecessarily euthanized by Midland Animal Services last week.

The rescue group says they contacted an animal services official with interest in two dogs, but the staffer did not respond. The city says it never received that communication.

Fix West Texas says staff was trying to pull the dogs, which typically means picking up animals in danger of being euthanized. The nonprofit wanted to schedule a meet and greet between a foster, their dogs and the shelter pets.

Fix West Texas says their staff texted a Midland Animal Services official on Sept. 7. They believe that communication went unread, said Karen Patterson, the rescue group’s executive director.

“We didn’t get a response to that and then Friday morning we got an email stating that she would be out of the office until the following week,” Patterson said.

Patterson says the foster went to meet the dogs on the morning of Sept. 9

“Once our foster arrived, he was told that those two dogs had been killed,” Patterson said.

The city maintains that animal services did not receive requests for the two dogs from rescues or citizens prior to Sept. 8. Their full statement can be found below,

The city says the dogs were taken in as strays on July 12 and Aug. 4. and stayed at the shelter until they were euthanized.

Fix West Texas staff say they don’t blame the official they contacted, but they say the situation is the result of a mismanaged shelter.

“We just really expect the shelter to be managed better and to prioritize that life-saving work,” Patterson said.

This instance is just one of several controversial situations involving Midland Animal Services this summer. The city has announced two investigations into animal deaths.

MORE: Update: City of Midland to investigate animal death

Fix West Texas also sounded the alarm on a wounded dog they pulled from the shelter last month.

“People are frustrated at seeing the continual suffering of animals that’s unnecessary so hopefully we can kind of plug the hole and stop the ship from sinking,” Patterson said.

MORE: Alleged animal cruelty in Midland leads to angry residents

Patterson said the rescue group has hope in Midland’s new City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

“He’s only been on board for a month, so we gotta give him time,” Patterson said.

Fix West Texas is keeping a positive outlook on his leadership, plus the recent change that puts animal services under the direction of the fire chief.

“We have great hope in our new city leaders that they’re going to take us in the right direction,” Patterson said.

The City of Midland’s full statement below:

“Midland Animal Services Department (MAS) is committed to safeguarding public health, protecting animal welfare, and providing the community with animal care and services. MAS has a capacity limit for the number of animals we can house in the shelter to achieve that goal. The capacity limit allows MAS to remain an open-intake facility to safeguard public health by getting loose dogs off our streets.

This year-to-date Midland Animals Services has taken in approximately 396 animals per month, either by owner surrenders or picked up as strays. Midland Animal Services works with local rescues, committed volunteers, and the public to give all adoptable animals an opportunity to find a home. Like MAS, these rescues sometimes find themselves at capacity with the number of animals they can take. Unfortunately, some animals aren’t adopted or rescued, which forces the difficult decision to euthanize the animals. This decision of which animal or when this must be done is not taken lightly by management or our shelter staff. There are several considerations while making this decision: health, behavior concerns, and time the animal has been in the shelter.

The two dogs mentioned on the most recent social media posts were picked up as strays on July 12, 2023, and August 4, 2023. They both had been housed at MAS since they were picked up and had been available for adoption for over a month. Unfortunately, the two dogs were euthanized on September 8, 2023. Midland Animal Services did not receive any requests from private citizens or rescues for these [specific] dogs prior to September 8, 2023. Midland Animal Services did follow all protocols leading up to this event.”