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Allegations of Kennett Humane Department gassing animals at Malden facility

Kennett Humane Department denies gassing dogs at Malden facility.
Kennett Humane Department denies gassing dogs at Malden facility.
Cindy Lester

In 2010, Kennett Humane Department constructed a Facebook page, started having adoption events, and by all accounts was making great strides to try and place the stray and unwanted pets of Kennett, Mo. Over the years, Kennett Animal Control Officer Tena Petix, has claimed to have adopted out and sent hundreds of animals to rescue.

A couple of years ago, Petix announced that the Kennett Human Department was going “no kill” and vowed not to euthanize any animal unless it was deemed extremely ill or injured, a task more than slightly difficult for an open door facility.

But they seemed to be pulling it off. Posts to the Humane Department’s Facebook repeatedly indicated that adoptions and events were going well and contacts with animal rescues were being utilized to move animals out of the area to safety.

Private donations were rolling into the shelter; a shelter already paid for and funded by the city of Kennett’s tax dollars. Dog food, blankets, flea meds, money, and many items too numerous to mention, all going to Kennett Human Department, based on what a wonderful job they were doing.

But many in the Missouri Bootheel were skeptical and a few months ago a group of Malden residents starting paying close attention to the goings on of the Kennett Humane Department and its animal control officer.

It was true that Petix had made major accomplishments with the once dismal pound and the adoption of possibly hundreds of animals in her care. But the numbers simply weren’t adding up and the group of concerned citizens just did not believe that the picture being portrayed of the department was accurate.

Two of the “concerned citizens” that had been looking into the matter of where all of Kennett’s dogs were actually going, are not your average, run-of-the-mill citizens. One is Cindy Lester of Malden, a long time animal advocate, rescuer, and transporter. Another is Donna Preger, Ward II City Council Woman for the City of Malden.

The two had collected information that the Kennett Humane Shelter truck has been seen repeatedly, in the early morning hours, at the Malden City Animal Control facility. Petix, Kennett’s ACO denied it.

Tired of questioning Kennett city officials and getting the run around, Prenger went to the City of Malden for their animal control records and what she uncovered was astounding. Included in the documentation she uncovered were gassing euthanasia records that showed Kennett delivering 29 animals to be gassed at the Malden facility between September and December of 2013 and a whopping 100 animals from January to June 2014!

Not only was Kennett Humane Department euthanizing animals against everything they claimed, they were putting them to death by gassing, one of the most barbaric methods possible. Instead of humanely euthanizing the animals at any number of area veterinarians they were putting them through the shear torture, terror, and agony of slow suffocation.

Prenger and Lester contacted Ted Bellers, Malden City Administrator, who initially agreed to an Aug. 6th meeting, off the record, to talk about the Malden animal gas chamber and what might be done to put an end to it, as well as Kennett Humane Shelter’s delivering animals to the Malden gassing facility.

As a show of good faith, Prenger and Lester agreed to keep the information that they had collected under wraps until after the meeting had taken place. But 30 minutes prior to the meeting, the pair received a call from the Malden City Administrators Office stating there were be no meeting, citing the rules of the Sunshine law that stipulated that such a meeting must have a 24 hour announcement to the public before it could take place. A later meeting was promised, but skeptical of that ever happening, Prenger and Lester decided to release information to the public.

And that’s just what they did. At 7:11 p.m. on August 6, Lester posted to her Facebook account, the screenshot of the 2014 Malden Gassing Euthanasia Record, showing in black and white, the individual animal control units in the Malden area that were bringing their animals in to be gassed. Kennett had the most animals gassed with a total of 100.

Like many of the excuses Prenger and Lester had been given over the previous few months, the numbers on the Malden form do not match up. And when contacted, Kennett ACO Petix denied the allegations stating that the Malden records are flat out wrong.

When asked by this author if she would like to make a statement about the allegations, Petix’s response was, “The Malden Administrator is handling the problem. It is not true and the administrator has the facts!”

A meeting between Councilwoman Prenger and City Administrator Beller is scheduled for August 7, 4:00 p.m.

Check back here on Examiner.com for the details on this situation as they unfold.