The euthanizing of a dog from Iraan by Fort Stockton's Animal Control staff last week has the owners upset and the city reminding people of the importance of having microchip identification on pets.
The dog, named Annie, was picked up as a stray in Iraan and transported to Fort Stockton, which operates the only animal control resource in Pecos County. The county does not have an animal shelter.
Animal control, which operates as part of the Fort Stockton Police Department, said the dog had no microchip or tag on a collar.
Interim Police Chief James Valenzuela said that when the animal control officer observed the dog, it had tumors around the body, a bulging eye and ticks.
That is when animal control made the decision to euthanize the dog.
Valenzuela said that animal control reserves that right if the dog is in poor health, has no identification and can be seen as suffering or a danger to the other animals.
With a healthy dog, there is a three-day impoundment period but without a microchip, license or collar the dog can be euthanized if it is unhealthy as deemed by animal control.
“Our animal control officers have a very difficult job,” said Valenzuela.
The dog belonged to Randy and Neva Grigsby. The dog got loose while the couple went to the hospital, said their daughter, Amber Parker.
Parker said they found out the dog was in Fort Stockton around 5 p.m. Monday. They waited until Tuesday morning to call about retrieving the dog, but were told Annie had already been put down.
Parker said that Annie had a limp and was old, but that she was healthy and had visited a veterinarian early in August.
Annie did not have a collar or microchip.
“She's never run away like this,” said Parker.
Parker said she wants clarification on city policy and she said she wants proof that Annie was put down humanely and would like the body.
“They did it wrong,” said Parker. “Dad never dreamed they would put her down.”
Neva Grigsby said that Annie did not have ticks and was well loved.
“Annie's never seen a tick in her life,” she said.
While Annie had glaucoma and was blind in one eye, her health was good said Grigsby.
“We take good care of her,” she said.
In response to concerns from the family and some citizens, City Manager Frank Rodriguez III said protocol was reviewed to make sure everything was followed, which he said was the case.
“We wanted to review it to make sure it was all done appropriately,” he said.
The biggest issue in the county in regards to animal control is stray animals – the majority of which do not have people who reclaim the animals. Many are are not licensed, registered or microchipped.
“If there were identifiers on the dog we could have made contact,” said Valenzuela.
For Pecos County, the only animal shelter is located in Fort Stockton, which operates as animal control instead of a shelter.
By law, Fort Stockton is not required to have an animal shelter since there are less than 100,000 residents, so what exists is a luxury. Being the only animal control in the county, the officers stay in Fort Stockton city limits unless an animal is brought to them from out of the city.
According to the city, animal control sends nearly 83 percent of all animals who are healthy and adoptable to a rescue.
With only two animal control officers for the county, it is a big job that includes being on-call most days.
Animals can be microchipped at the local veterinarians. Animal Medical Center charges around $75 for the service.
Dogs can be microchipped at the animal control center for only $15.