The director and assistant director of animal control are on administrative leave while Amarillo police are investigating if they violated state and local laws.
The APD is looking into allegations of improper use of euthanasia at the city facility. Pronews 7 spoke with three of the Animal Control Board members and a concerned citizen to find out what the Animal Control Board and the City of Amarillo are doing in the wake of this controversy.
??I was contacted a little over two weeks ago by the city attorney. He informed that Mr. McGee and Miss Barlow were on paid administrative leave due to some allegations of improper euthanasia, said Animal Control Board Member Brooke Reeves. ??I know that there is an active investigation. ??
The Amarillo Police Department, although they are part of city government, is investigating animal control, another city agency because the board says that their oversight is within their jurisdiction. And the allegations of improper euthanasia have many concern citizens speaking out.
??One of the gentlemen that work for animal control flat out stated that they don??t have a scale anywhere in their facility and that is breaking state law,?? said Lora Smith, a concerned citizen. ??Every animal must be weighed prior to being euthanized so that the proper amount of medication is given in order to fulfill euthanasia.??
The animal control board was not made aware that animals were allegedly being put down in an improper fashion.
??Prior to mid-march I was completely unaware that there were any allegations and that there anything inappropriate occurring at animal control,?? said Sunny Hodge-Campbell, the Animal Control Board Chair. ??Mid-march I became aware and I presented the information to the city commission. ??
As Pronews 7 first told you yesterday, concerned citizens packed the Amarillo Control Board meeting wanting their questions answered over improper management, changes to policies, and they wanted to influence the next meeting's agenda. Right now Scott McDonald, a building official with the city, has been named interim director.
Dr. Jim Cook, who is also a board member for animal control, says that while emotions are running high with concerned citizens and the city investigates, it??s important to remember that the staff at animal control is overwhelmed, and that??s it??s a sensitive line of work.
??It??s a hard job because you??re dealing with people with emotions tied up with love for their pets so really speaking we??ve done a good job here in keeping up with the demands of the city,?? said Dr. Jim Cook.
The city continues to have no comment. The animal control board responsibility is to act as advisors, so it is now the responsibility of the city council to act following the results of the investigation by the Amarillo Police Department