Lubbock Animal Services offers help for pets, owners caught up in animal hoarding

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock Animal Services (LAS) seized more than 20 dogs from a property near East 34th Street and Elm Avenue on Wednesday.

Director Steven Green says it’s an ongoing issue at that location and this is not the first seizure there. While this particular investigation is ongoing, Greene says his team handles three to four large-scale seizures like this a year.

“Some of the homes I’ve had to go into have just been horrendous and heartbreaking simultaneously,” Greene said.

According to a Lubbock city ordinance, it’s illegal to have more than four adult cats and four adult dogs per household. Residents can have a litter of each under 16 weeks of age. When LAS hears about or stumbles upon an animal hoarding situation, it files a disposition hearing, taking the case to municipal court. Then, the animals are removed from the dangerous environment.

“We can actually write citations for things such as animal cruelty, inhumane treatment, excessive number of animals,” Greene said.

LAS can issue a Class C misdemeanor for hoarding animals. If the situation is serious enough, police can take that to a Class A misdemeanor or even a felony charge. Greene says animal services is a public health and safety department, and they try to help the owners, too.

“A lot of times these people have a lot of emotional issues and they really get shut off from society because they’re almost ashamed to ask for help. So they don’t reach out and they kind of become shut-ins. It’s just really not healthy for the animals or the human components either,” Greene said.

After LAS picks up the animals, they can go into the Lubbock adoption program, or a rescue depending on their level of socialization. Greene says it’s whatever works best for the animal. In this week’s seizure, 10 team members were on scene for hours, many sore the next day from the work.

“For people that call up here and say, y’all don’t do your job, y’all don’t like animals, it’s so ridiculous. Honestly we don’t get paid great for the City of Lubbock. We love what we do. Everyone that works in this department is a very animal-active person. They all want to help and you do put blood, sweat, and tears into this,” Greene said.

If you see any hoarding situations like this around town, Greene wants you to call animal services at (806) 775-2057.

LAS will be hosting its fall festival on Saturday. There will be free adoptions from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m., games, a food truck and Greene in a dunk tank for “dunk the director.” All proceeds will go to United Way.

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