ODESSA, TX (CBS7) – Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke says he never authorized the chairwoman of the Odessa Animal Control shelter to threaten to kill 140 dogs in a Facebook post earlier this month.
He says while putting animals down at the shelter is always an option, he didn’t know Susie Clark was going to write the post and admits spreading the word only on Facebook was not the best way to communicate.
The police department oversees and manages the shelter.
In the post, which wasn’t even on the shelter’s official page, Clark wrote "Due to a distemper exposure, the decision has been made for every dog at Odessa Animal Control to be put down. Over 140 pups. Many have been there for months and are fully vaccinated as well. If your beloved pet is missing, please go check before the end of the day tomorrow, December 6, 2018. I am sickened and in disbelief that this could even happen."
Clark does not do on-camera interviews according to Odessa Police.
Monday we learned the post was a threat to force outside groups to step in and help, according to shelter management.
The shelter believed there had been an outbreak of distemper, a highly contagious respiratory disease. According to Austin-based American Pets Alive, no cases of distemper were found though several dogs had respiratory illnesses.
Lt. Kevin Chance, who oversees the shelter, says Clark posted the announcement to cause a frenzy to get help from outside people and organizations.
"Unfortunately that is part of what gets some help when they realize there is a dire need. Certainly, folks will then be able to come in and help out like they did," said Chance.
American Pets Alive, which is a non-profit group, helped cleaned the shelter, paid for dogs to be tested the medical expenses of a few, and found homes for others.
We also reached out to Mayor David Turner, City Manager Michael Marrero and city spokeswoman Andrea Goodson to discuss this story. All three told us they were too busy to talk about it with us today.