In unfortunate news out of Texas, five employees conducted unauthorized euthanizations of 38 animals since April of this year at Sugar Land’s Animal Services shelter. The city opened an investigation after learning of the incidents. The employees who were involved in the euthanizations claimed the animals were “aggressive,” had a “medical diagnosis,” or had special needs. At least 38 cats and dogs were euthanized that authorities know of.
Sugar Land, Texas claims that veterinarians are supposed to conduct full, detailed evaluations of all animals that come into the shelter. This determines if they are fit to be put up for adoption or if euthanasia is medically necessary. If an animal has behavior problems, those issues must first be discussed with a certified animal trainer or behaviorist. If euthanasia is the only option, the procedure must then be done under direct supervision.
According to authorities and the City of Sugar Land, these protocols were not strictly followed as they should have been. Five employees were fired, but the shelter manager resigned before the city could fire him, according to a report from KTRK-TV out of Houston.
The City of Sugar Land said in a statement that they “will continue working to implement any training and protocols needed to ensure this never happens again.” The city is also moving employees from other departments and city-run shelters to Animal Services temporarily. They will assist the remaining employees until the city hires others.
Man Arrested After Police Find Animals and Elderly Woman Living In Stolen U-Haul, Claims He Was Running Animal Shelter
Steven Martel, 35, was arrested recently after Pasco County Police stopped him with a stolen U-Haul from New Hampshire. The Newport, New Hampshire resident hadn’t paid for use of the truck since August 5. When deputies stopped him in Florida they found an unfortunate situation inside the truck.
A 72-year-old woman was living inside the truck, along with Martel’s wife, 35 cats, and two dogs. Martel and his wife claimed they ran an animal shelter out of the truck called “Veterans Paws For Hope.” The pair never had permits for this business. Pasco County Animal Control took the cats, giving them much needed medical attention. As of Sept. 18, all the cats were medically healthy.
The affidavit from Pasco County Police claimed that Martel was the “caretaker” for the elderly woman found in the truck. According to Morton Plant Northbay Hospital, she had several open sores on her legs. She also most likely had a bone disease from her condition. The woman was confused and had difficulty communicating. According to a report from WFLA, Martel was charged with “grand theft of a motor vehicle, neglect of an elderly adult, and 35 counts of animal cruelty.”