[GRAPHIC] Photos Spark Outrage Over Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare
UPDATE: 7/31/2020 3:26 PM CST - The City of Amarillo reached out to us with a statement explaining the photos.
Here is the response from the city:
- This dog (a female stray) was diagnosed by a veterinarian for a tail-chasing disorder. The dog was at AAMW from March 18 to May 19 during the COVID shutdown. The tail-chasing disorder began about two weeks before the dog was sent to rescue.
- This dog had a self-mutilating disorder and was treated by a veterinarian at AAMW (the picture was taken during treatment). The dog had a deformity on her left front paw, which led to the self-mutilation disorder. This dog was at AAMW from April 2 to May 22 during the COVID shutdown. The dog was a rescue animal, has a new owner and is doing well.
- The potbelly pig came to AAMW as a stray and was housed in a kennel run. The pig was housed in a covered indoor/outdoor run so he was out of view of other sheltered animals. He was treated by a veterinarian at AAMW and was at the shelter from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17. He went to rescue.
- Kennel pictures were taken in the morning before the kennel was cleaned after an animal had been sick during the night.
- This picture shows deceased livestock dumped at AAMW. AAMW has posted signage alerting residents to not dump deceased livestock at AAMW.
- The kitten was at AAMW from June 12 to July 2. The animal suffered from an upper respiratory infection, which was a preexisting illness. The animal was brought to AAMW as part of a trapped litter. All other kittens in this litter were adopted or sent to rescue. An AAMW staff member took the kitten home, but he did not improve and was euthanized.
- Two dogs broke a safety latch, and started a fight with two dogs which were inside of a kennel. One of the dogs in the kennel fought aggressively through the chain link fence, which caused facial lacerations. This dog, which was a cruelty/neglect case, was treated at the shelter for minor injuries and was at AAM&W from Dec. 1 2019 to March 9 2020. This dog went to rescue. The dogs which broke the safety latch were euthanized for aggression due to concerns about safety in the community.
AAMW has successfully improved its live release rate from 69 percent to 80 percent due to operational changes. With these changes, AAMW averages more than 1,600 additional pets saved each year.
Euthanization is used for medical and behavioral reasons. Most animals euthanized for behavior reasons are dangerous animals which are aggressive to people and other animals and are unsafe in the community.
AAMW has a licensed veterinarian making medical euthanasia decisions. Every animal in the aforementioned pictures was treated by an AAMW staff veterinarian. Dr. Kati Wrubel, director of AAMW, is a Ph.D. animal behaviorist.
The overwhelming majority of the animals in these pictures were rescued and/or adopted, and are doing well.
Warning: The following contains graphic images and videos involving animals. Your discretion is advised
Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare is no stranger to controversy. Last night, it happened once again with a Facebook post that has now been shared over 750 times (at the time of this writing). The post alleges mistreatment of animals and a lack of concern regarding safety for the animals and employees.
It's heartbreaking, and stomach-churning. The photos, and videos, accompanying the post are hard to look at.
It's not the only one. There are other posts that have been made and are also being shared rapidly; all from former employees and officers of Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare.
The photos show a shockingly brutal scene, at a place where you would never expect to see something like this. According to the post, it isn't a unique instance. It happens all of the time.
The post goes on to address the way that animals are handled at Amarillo Animal Welfare & Management. One of the most gut-wrenching stories was of a dog who chewed through its own leg. Another is of a cat who, instead of being humanely euthanized, was left to suffer.
There are photos of the conditions the animals are kept in. For instance, a pig in a kennel just big enough to hold it. There is a photo of the "other side" of the dead dropbox.
Words escape me. What is there to say? The photos and videos are horrendous, and it's infuriating. If you can stomach it, I encourage you to read through the post.
You may have seen the recent posts made by former staff and former officers (including myself), about the state of affairs at Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare under current management. The current director wants her numbers to look good, as if she has turned things around to be “no kill.”
Please take the time to view the following photos and video and read the captions to see what current leadership has turned the shelter into, and ask yourself if any of this is humane for the animals, or helpful to the mental health of the staff who has to deal with the aftermath of daily incidents like this. Question management as to how many long time, committed employees have resigned under this leadership. Ask them how many officers are left on staff to serve a population of 200,000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Also keep in mind - to keep the numbers looking good on paper, she also has closed open intake to strays found in the community. Guess what? If you find a stray in traffic, and you do the good citizen task of picking the animal up on your way to work, and bring it to the shelter so it can be safely reunited with a searching owner - you’ll be turned away. You’ll be told to make an appointment and come back another day. What are you supposed to do with the animal in the meantime? Should you bring it home and expose it to your personal pets, which can lead to injury or death if the animal is not friendly with others? Should you bring it home and possibly expose your own pets to an unvaccinated animal? Should you just let it go in traffic? Should you bring it home and then end up becoming the legal owner per city ordinance? (If the animal is in your care for 3 days - guess what? You’re the owner now and liable for whatever happens) What about the owner who could be looking for their lost pet? They’re going to search the shelter for a few days, and then many will give up and not return. They have no way to know their pet was brought in and turned away and now no one knows where it is and the chances of reunification go down even more.
Word is getting around about this new policy, even though management has never even bothered to make an official announcement to the tax paying public. Therefore, there are now packs of dogs roaming. Ask yourself, do you want your child playing outside when a pack of dogs comes along? There are dozens of animals hit by cars all over town and on the highway, who if lucky, died instantly. Most aren’t so lucky. Most bleed out and suffer the pain of broken bones, crushed organs, knocked out teeth and popped out eyeballs from the impact before they die. I can say this with 100% certainty, because I have seen it firsthand as an officer when an animal has been hit. Now, there are even more animals hit daily due to the sheer number of loose animals roaming due to the policy of no longer picking up strays in the field.
Is this ok with the citizens of Amarillo from their taxpayer funded facility? Just so someone can feel good about themselves that they have a low euthanasia rate for the month? A quick injection of sodium pentobarbital is a humane death. The way animals are dying all over the city is NOT humane. This must stop - for the safety of the citizens of Amarillo, for the safety of the staff at AM&W, and for the animals who have no voice. - Cecily Steinmetz via Facebook