The Lubbock Animal Shelter is making big changes to its policy. The reason, two pet owners claim the shelter put their dogs down by mistake. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel sat down with the director of animal services. He says they did make some mistakes, but they're working to fix it.
In both incidents the owners claim they tried to contact the shelter. In one case, the owner showed up to the shelter but had to leave to get money. By the time he came back his dog was dead.
"It's terrible, worse thing that could happen to me in this industry, not being able to reunite a pet with its owner." Fred Sanderson has been the Director of Lubbock Animal Control Services for one year. And in that time, he has witnessed a few major mistakes.
Mary Fladecek said in a interview on December 13, 2005, "We told them we would be there Tuesday to pick them up and they told my brother, 'No we already killed them.'" NewsChannel 11 first told you about the Fladacek's last December. Their dogs were euthanized after they claimed them. Sanderson told us then, that it was a communication error, and it would be solved.
Nearly two months later, the same mistake. But it's a mistake Sanderson is owning up to. "The dog was euthanized while the owner was off getting money, how embarrassing is that? That animal didn't just arrive it had been here a few days. We don't function in real time which is a terrible excuse and we shouldn't be doing that."
Sanderson says they have made changes since our first report. One policy change is that red tags will now hang anytime an animal is claimed, and the employees will be held accountable.
Another change, all doors leading to the animals are locked to the public, to stop theft of strays. And last, the public has to be accompanied when they claim their pets, or look at strays.
Sanderson says as long as human error's a factor, mistakes might be made. But his hope is that they'll soon get a computer system that will add communication to where it's lacking.
Animal Services says that they have 28,000 animals come through a year. About a third of those animals are put down because they don't have owners looking for them, or they don't have proper identification. Animal Services says the best way to protect your pet, is to make sure they have some kind of I.D. like a name collar or microchip.