Numerous complaints against Lubbock's Animal Control have been pouring into KCBD since we first began our investigation in January.
The original story focused on the death of a 13-year-old Australian Shepherd named Cutter. His owner Dianna Wilson says two aggressive dogs ripped through the picket fence and attacked Cutter in the back yard. He eventually died several days later from his injuries.
Prior to Cutter's attack, she had called Animal Control multiple times for help with the aggressive dogs that kept trying to get into her yard. While the officers responded to each call, Wilson says they never actively searched for the dogs until Cutter's death.
After we aired Cutter's story a large number of calls, emails and Facebook posts flooded KCBD with similar concerns about dangerous dogs and claims that Animal control officers were not doing their jobs.
We took those complaints to Mayor Glenn Robertson who says those concerns are new to him. "Part of the problem is these complaints are going to the media and not to elected officials," Robertson said. "It's a frustrating situation as a mayor to hear we have this many concerns with our animal control."
Although Robertson says there is a lack of complaints coming into the city, he admits there are problems with the department. "The biggest issue is we're short staffed. We're short at least four, and I think maybe even six," Robertson said.
Robertson says the enormous amount of calls coming into animal control stretches their nine officers thin and causes long response times for those calls.
In January and February alone, animal control received nearly 1,400 calls. According to their intake report, animal control received almost 200 dangerous dog calls, 282 owners surrendering their pets and around 700 stray dogs that were either picked up by control officers or brought in to the shelter.
"We will get a call saying the officer just drove by for 30 seconds and then left. There is truth to that because the officers have 10 calls lined up after that they have to go to," Robertson said.
But what is causing the overflow of calls? Robertson says it all comes back to irresponsible pet owners.
"We have a tremendous amount of irresponsible pet owners in Lubbock," he said. "We have so many irresponsible pet owners that nine control officers is not nearly enough."
While Robertson says there is no quick fix for the abundance of calls, he says department heads are looking into the issues. "I don't want to hear suggestions of let's throw ten more officers out there. Maybe we need to institute new policies that will address these irresponsible pet owners because that's the true root of the problems."
Robertson says if anyone has complaints the best thing they can do is contact their city council officials:
Mayor Glenn Robertson - GRobertson@mylubbock.us
District One Victor Hernandez - VHernandez@mylubbock.us
District Two Floyd Price - FPrice@mylubbock.us
District Three Todd Klein - TKlein@mylubbock.us
District Four Jim Gerlt - JGerlt@mylubbock.us
District Five Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson - KGibson@mylubbock.us
District Six Latrelle Joy - LJoy@mylubbock.us
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