Three Baytown animal control officers have been charged with improperly euthanizing dogs, a misdemeanor, after failing to make sure the pups couldn't feel any pain before injecting them.
The trio — Tod Brooks, Veronica Jimenez and Christopher Nightingale — are former employees of Baytown Animal Control. Not only are they accused of failing to sedate the dogs before euthanizing them, they are also accused of stuffing the dogs' bodies into plastic bags to dispose of them — without first making sure that the dogs were really dead.
“The job of an animal control officer is not an easy job, but it requires compassion and empathy,” said Jessica Milligan, Animal Cruelty Section chief at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. “It’s unfortunate that these particular officers didn’t exhibit the compassion towards animals that we as a community expect and Texas laws require.”
The DA's office said that the investigation was launched in June 2015 after another former employee of Baytown Animal Control tipped off authorities about improper euthanasia procedures. Hours of video footage at the facility upheld the tipster's complaints, according to the DA's office.
“When people think of their local animal shelter, most are realistic and recognize that animals are being euthanized every day,” Milligan said, “but they don’t want the animals to suffer.”
According to the Baytown Sun, Baytown Animal Services's save rate for dogs was 32 percent in the summer of 2015, when the investigation began. By September 2016, the rate had improved to 57 percent.
The City of Baytown could not immediately be reached for comment.
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