WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Wichita animal rescuers are outraged at mistaken euthanasia of several dogs at the Wichita Animal Shelter. The shelter is calling the error a breakdown in communication, saying they made a mistake and are taking action to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Animal advocate Maryssa Reed who works with a local animal rescue, shared her story of a rescue dog.
“This particular dog was fond wondering by a citizen and she was afraid to surrender the animal to the [Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital] because she was afraid of the fees,” Reed said.
Because the dog wasn’t microchipped, the shelter was Reed’s only choice. She said she told the shelter that if the dog’s owner couldn’t be found, she was interested in adoption.
“Every two to three days, I went back to the shelter to check on the dog. The proper owner was never located,” Reed said.
She said she followed up with the Kansas Humane Society on the possible adoption. It appeared procedures were followed to get the dog a new home with Reed. That’s not what happened.
“I have inside information through my lost and found group that this dog was on of 18 that were euthanized [Wednesday],” Reed said.
After listening to Reed’s story, 12 News went to the Wichita Animal Shelter and spoke with Lt. Derek Purcell who said he looked into the situation and found that his staff did make an error.
“There was a mistake, there’s no two ways about it,” he said. “That should not have happened.”
So, what did happen? Purcell confirmed 17 dogs were euthanized Wednesday, but only five had immediate concerns to warrant euthanasia.
“Of those dogs, three of them were dangerous dogs. I’m required by ordinance to euthanize those animals,” Purcell said. “When they are surrendered by their owners, I cannot put those back out to the public. There was two cases of dogs that had broken with kennel cough that I no longer had kennels to isolate them in.”
But the other 12 dogs…
“The volume at which they were euthanized exceeded the standards that we set at 25% unoccupied. It exceeded that standard, which was one that we had instituted in our goal of providing humane care, and that was a mistake.”
Purcell said he’s taken immediate action and no animal under the Wichita Animal Shelter’s care will be euthanized without his approval.
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