Viral Facebook post raises questions about euthanasia practices

The director of Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare explains why a pregnant pit bull had to be euthanized (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A volunteer with the Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society and Animal Management & Welfare is raising questions after her post on Facebook went viral.

Dacia Anderson tells ABC 7 News she was volunteering on May 10 when a pregnant pit bull at the Animal Management & Welfare facility had to be euthanized. She is upset at how fast the process is done once the decision is made to euthanize a pregnant and unclaimed pet. She is trying to raise awareness and support from the community to help the AMW facility.

“With our limited budget we just simply can’t save all the animals,” said Richard Havens, Director of Animal Management & Welfare. “We’re doing the best we can to give them the best chance but when animals come in with behavior issues, those animals will be ultimately put down.”

Anderson declined to go on camera after her post went viral. Havens tells ABC 7 News the pregnant pit bull was an owner surrender and the owner had filled out the necessary paperwork to turn her over to AMW. The pit bull was acting up and presenting a danger to the staff at the facility.

“We have to make very hard decisions for the best interest of the public safety,” said Havens. “We have to put the animals down that have a behavior history that possess significant dangers to the community.”

Havens tells ABC 7 News a low cost game changing spay and neuter option and more people coming forward seeking to adopt pets or foster pets would help with over-crowding at facility. Other communities in neighboring states do take a percentage of the animals.

“If it was not for these other communities our euthanasia rate would go up over 27 percent and that’s heartbreaking,” said Havens.

Dacia Anderson tells ABC 7 News she believes Amarillo needs a shelter they can get behind and trust.

“We have had over 12,000 animals come to our shelter a year,” said Havens. “That has been pretty tried and true for at least three years since I have been here.”

A community engagement meeting is scheduled for June 6 at the Amarillo Downtown Library branch from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. that is open for people who want to see positive steps to better serve animals.

Anderson tells ABC 7 News she has the utmost respect for the kennel attendants that grow attached while caring for unwanted and abused animals.

The Humane Society handles rescue and adoption and is not responsible for intake or euthanasia. She said she has attempted to make her grievances known in a less public way but to no avail so she turned to social media.