LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
The Lubbock Animal Shelter is working to make sure they will never euthanize a pet by accident again.
Last week, Damon Hughes found his cat at the shelter, but had to wait another day to pick her up because she needed a vaccination. When he returned the next day, it was too late.
George Torres, director of animal services, said the mistake happened because officers were not following protocols. He called it horrible and unacceptable.
Now, the shelter is retraining officers to make sure they know the procedures and the consequences if they are not followed.
"The investigation is being conducted," Torres said, "and there will be some disciplinary actions, up to even recommendations for termination."
Torres has purchased special collars to make sure cats with owners are identified and not mistaken for stray cats, which is what happened to Hughes’ cat. The cats are taken from their cages while employees clean, and sometimes cats of similar breeds can be switched.
Cats with homes will be kept in an entirely separate room.
Torres also purchased a longer scanner for cats with microchips, so that officers are less reluctant to use them for identification.
"Most of the time they respond by attempting to bite the officer or scratching an officer," Torres said, "so with providing that additional scanner, once they arrive at the shelter, they can actually scan the cat and it be a lot safer for the officer."