Numerous complaints have poured into KCBD after we aired our Animal Control investigation Tuesday night. Many of those viewer comments, calls and emails center around the department's lack of urgency in responding to calls involving dangerous and aggressive dogs.
Tuesday's investigation told the story of Cutter, a 13-year-old Australian Shepherd. He was attacked and killed in his own backyard after two pit bulls ripped through the fence. Cutter's owner, Dianna Wilson, called Animal Control multiple times before the attack, but she says their officers did not actively search for the dogs until after Cutter died.
After reading Cutter's tragic story, a former Animal Control officer named Joe Gaytan called KCBD with his own complaints about the very agency he used to work for. "It's disappointing to see what's happening today," Joe said.
Joe worked for Lubbock's Animal Control for five years in the 1990s, but he says that was a time when the officers took aggressive dog calls very seriously. "Every time there was a situation involving an aggressive dog we would go out there and look around until we found the dog," he said. "We don't just zoom by. No, we hang around for a good 30 to 40 minutes or even more than an hour if we need to."
After a while, Joe went from taking the calls at Animal Control to making them. When he started working as an LP&L meter reader, Joe had his fair share of run-ins with aggressive dogs. "I'd say I probably called them from 40 to 60 times. They would just go by without stopping or asking me questions. They would zoom down the alley going 25 mph, and several times they almost hit me," he said.
After careful investigation, these claims of negligence are nothing new. Back in 2008, KCBD ran an investigation into the city's animal services. "Everything around and associated with animal services seems to be a problem," Lubbock Councilman John Leonard said at the time.
During that investigation, we found out that one Animal Control employee had more than 300 unanswered messages on her phone. That employee along with another was fired.
When we called Mayor Glen Robertson, he told us the city is aware of current problems with the department. "It goes much deeper than just being understaffed," Robertson said. "These issues need to be addressed, and it's time we looked into it."
Robertson is expected to meet with KCBD later this week to discuss the large number of complaints and problems embedded in the department.
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