CENTERTON, Ark. — The euthanization of two dogs has led to changes at the Centerton Animal Shelter.
On Nov. 9, the Cave Springs Police Department picked up what they believed to be two Great Pyrenees outside of the Osage House Wedding Venue. Lieutenant Keith Lawson of the Cave Springs Police Department says that they had taken the dogs to Centerton on November 16, where a day later they were euthanized.
"They were having a wedding ceremony up there and these two dogs showed up. One of the officers went up there, picked up the dogs, they put them in our kennel. From there, we started trying to find the dog's owners," Lawson said.
"After that week had passed, we took them to Centerton in hopes that they would either find the owners or the dogs would be adopted out. The following day, we received a call from someone who said they wanted to remain anonymous, but that they had learned those two animals had been euthanized," Lawson continued
Centerton resident Michael Commet learned of the news from an anonymous community member and shared what happened on Facebook.
"They were very concerned that there was no action being taken," Commet said.
"We didn't have any trouble out of dogs at all," Lawson said. "They were extremely friendly, they were well-socialized. They almost became pets."
Lawson says that the Cave Springs Police Department doesn’t receive updates on animals or their behavior after being dropped off at the Centerton Animal Shelter.
"There's a purpose for euthanasia. If you have a dangerous animal, dangerous to the public, that's one thing. But doing it at a convenience is totally different. That's disgusting. We shouldn't treat animals that way, it should never happen," Commet said.
He says that "it's interesting because the shelter has been isolated by itself. There's not a lot of activity. Most citizens here understand that you can't just walk in there, you have to make appointments, and it's very limited on what you can see."
Centerton Police Captain Cristopher Kelley released the following statement regarding the incident:
On November 17th, The city was contacted by a citizen about two dogs being euthanized at our shelter. At which point Human Resources started an investigation into the incident and placed the employee on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The investigation revealed there were other options available, and our director’s employment was terminated. There is an active Police Investigation into the matter to see if any Arkansas State laws were violated. No details regarding the police investigation will be released at this time.
I am not aware of any previous shelter administration issues, the director has been the same over the course of my employment with the city. I don’t know of any reported issues before now.
A statement from the mayor said that "a new more detailed intake form has been created to help identify any issues," and that "any future euthanasia will be done at a vet's office."
Executive director Jackie Roach of Best Friends in Northwest Arkansas said the following:
"We are saddened to hear about the dogs that were needlessly killed at Centerton animal shelter. We've reached out in the past to offer assistance to the shelter with resources, but they were not interested in working with us. We hope that with a new change in leadership we can work together to make improvements in the care and enrichment of the animals in the shelter. Best Friends goal is to end the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025. That means every shelter, in every town."
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