Montgomery County Terminates Contract With Animal Shelter Directors

After eight months of controversy over the Montgomery County Animal Shelter's new directors, the county's commissioners voted Tuesday to terminate the contract with the private corporation overseeing the shelter, KSTAR News reports.

A vocal group of volunteers, fosters, and ex-employees had for months complained of an alleged decrease in animal care under the direction of veterinarians Aubrey Ross II and Diarra Blue. The shelter had previously been overseen by former Precinct 3 Constable Tim Holifield, who ran a company — Care Corp. — that the county contracted with to manage the shelter.

Ross, a Houston native who had most recently worked in a Las Vegas veterinary practice, bought Care Corp. for $10,000 in January. Blue, another Las Vegas vet, joined shortly thereafter. The two vets, with another Las Vegas veterinarian, Michael Lavigne, also opened  Cy-Fair Animal Hospital, in July. (Blue and Lavigne also filed incorporation papers for an animal cremation facility in April, according to the Nevada Secretary of State). 

Commissioners told the Houston Chronicle last week that an oversight committee was tasked with assessing the shelter and looking into allegations of widespread sickness among the animals.

Ross denied the allegations, saying the rate at which animals were euthanized had dropped and that the shelter was generally improving. 

It's unclear what the next step is, or what Commissioners Court is doing to ensure a smooth transfer of authority from Care Corp. to the next managers. We reached out to Commissioner Jim Clark, who was overseeing the shelter assessment, and will update if we hear back. 

Clark hadn't taken office at the time Commissioners Court renewed the county's contract with Care Corp. in December 2014, but other commissioners were, and it seems strange that they're paying more attention to the shelter now than when Holifield — seemingly without explanation or heads-up — sold the company. Better late than never, we guess. 
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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
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