City Council accepts responsibility for Animal Control controversy

Tonight, elected leaders on the city council are finally responding to the Animal Control controversy, even as new problems at the shelter came to light during the meeting.

While many concerned citizens feel the city is headed in the right direction for reforming Animal Control after allegations of improper euthanasia, todayâ??s revelation that poor conditions continue to cause unnecessary deaths at the shelter made city leaders acknowledge their responsibility in failing to act in a timely fashion.

Pronews 7 first told you about allegations of improper euthanasia at Animal Control. While there is still an ongoing investigation, and a grand jury is set to meet for a third time next week to weigh the facts in this case, the Chair of the Animal Control Board says that city management must be held responsible for what occurred at animal control.

â??So far the city has tried to stop I feel like with Mike McGee and Shannon Barlow and thatâ??s not right,â?? said Sunny Hodge-Campbell. â??Where was Mikeâ??s supervision in this whole matter, because he was not operating that place alone.â?? â??The deputy city manager is the one who ultimately oversees animal control and that person also oversees many other departments.â??

Councilman Dr. Brian Eades agrees with Sunny Hodge-Campbellâ??s assessment of the situation.

â??I think that when you look at the facts and listen to what has occurred, she is absolutely correct, the buck stops with us,â?? said Dr. Brian Eades . â??Now the city manager runs the city, and we hire the city manager, so ultimately, weâ??re responsible.â?? â??We take that responsibility seriously and weâ??re going to make sure that as we move forward that itâ??s done in a competent and cogent manner. â??

The councilman added that he feels that what occurred at animal control cannot be called allegations anymore.

â??They say itâ??s alleged, but having seen videos, itâ??s not alleged to me so weâ??re going to move ahead and looking to improve things at animal control,â?? said Dr. Brian Eades.

Animal Control Board Chair Sunny Hodge-Campbell added that city has management issues that go far beyond Animal Control.

â??Animal Control has operated this way, and all these issues have come out,â?? said Sunny Hodge-Campbell â??Whatâ??s happening with public health, environmental health?â?? â??Should we be concerned about those as well.â??

Amarillo City Traffic Commissioner, Mark Nair says that a lack of transparency is leading to poor communication with the public.

â??I completely get the feeling of people saying that thereâ??s a brother protecting a brother. I understand that that happens a lot when you lack communication and transparency,â?? said Mark Nair.

In recent weeks, 27 puppies had to be euthanized because distemper and parvo, and five cats also died of heat stroke. City leaders have promised to act swiftly and improve conditions at Animal Control to prevent further unnecessary deaths, but questions remain about overall management issues at the city level.