As word spread this weekend that the City of San Antonio's mayor, Julian Castro, may be President Barack Obama's nominee to head the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a new photo taken by a volunteer inside San Antonio's Animal Care Services (ACS) raises more questions about the facility.
This author has been chronicling what appear to be serious issues within the City's animal control agency. On Thursday, May 13th a concerned volunteer snapped a photo of a kennel inside ACS. There was no dog in the cage when she arrived in "Building 2" during the early afternoon, but blood was covering a majority of the floor. The volunteer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says what she saw haunts her, "The blood went from the kennel all the way down the corridor and you could tell that the dog was dragged. There was over 10 feet of drag marks."
So far the City's Animal Care Services spokesperson and the Mayor's office have not responded to repeated attempts by this author to get an explanation as to what happened.
Other issues raised about ACS
More than 4800 dogs euthanized in 2013
Last year the City euthanized more than 4800 dogs. ACS claims it's getting closer to reaching its goal of becoming a "no kill" facility, citing high "live release rates". These numbers are based on dogs the agency considers to be "healthy and treatable". Problem is, there have been numerous documented instances where dogs were mislabeled and miscategorized as being "aggressive" though they were not. In at least one case, volunteers say, a dog with an inaccurate behavior assessment was euthanized.
Accusations of mismanagement
There's also been accusations of mismanagement at ACS. In March 2014, San Antonio community leader, Lori Rodriguez says she brought a stray dog to the shelter because she was assured by Kathy Davis, the head of ACS, that Rodriguez would be contacted to foster the dog if no one else volunteered. Instead the dog was euthanized.
Accusations of mishandling and mistreating dogs
Volunteers have contacted this author reporting instances where they say they've witnessed dogs being mishandled and mistreated. Like this case, also in March 2014, where a volunteer says she saw an employee mistreating a dog. ACS told the volunteer and this author the City would investigate. The volunteer says she provided a clear description of the employee involved, but ACS sent her a letter saying they could not identify the employee and did not take any action.
Then in April 2014, a link to a picture showing a young chocolate lab with blood in its cage on the end of a "catch pole" appeared on, "Pet Harbor", a website where the City posts dogs that need homes. When this author initially asked the City of San Antonio for a comment on the bloody photo officials did not respond. But shortly after this author's inquiry, the picture with blood beside the lab pup was taken down, and a new photo of the dog was uploaded.
After repeated requests for comment ACS spokesperson, Lisa Norwood finally responded by saying, “In reference to the chocolate lab X, that pet was brought in during a bite case. There are no medical notes indicating the dog was bleeding but policy does dictate staff re-take any pictures of pets to boost their placement possibility.”
There's also been accusations ACS does not alway make proper attempts to contact the owners of dogs that are picked up and brought to the city pound.
This author will post an update if the City of San Antonio comments on this latest photo showing a bloody kennel.