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KFOX14Investigates: El Paso Animal Services center losing pets

It’s the place for lost pets and strays, but KFOX14 Investigates finds the Animal Services shelter is losing dozens of pets in their care.

Animal Services records show, the pets that escape your yard are able to escape these walls as well.

“Animals do get out from time to time, -- feral cats for instance, very skittish,” said Ramon Herrera, an El Paso City spokesman for the Animal Services Center.

KFOX14 Investigates obtained intake records for Animal Services going back to July of 2016.

In that time, 190 cats and dogs have been lost in their care. An average of nine a month.

“There are times during the unloading where they can get away,” said Herrera.

In January of this year, the shelter reported losing four dogs and seven cats.

It was an improvement over last year's numbers.

Last January and February alone, 35 pets were considered missing.

“Sometimes even when you are showing an animal to a potential adopter it will happen,” said Herrera.

Herrera said this is more likely to happen when the shelter is at capacity.

“There are moments where we might have a larger shelter population, meaning you are getting more animals out from their spaces in order to clean their kennels. And again, just as they get away from home sometimes they get away from here at the shelter,” said Herrera.

But Herrera said the records may be deceiving.

He said new software implemented, in 2016 resulted in the duplication of records.

“That’s going back and seeing if it’s a duplicate record, is staff not filling out paperwork correctly,” said Herrera.

In an effort to be transparent, rather than deleting the duplicate records, the city shelter files it under "lost in care."

But it’s impossible to know how many are repeat records, versus how many cats and dogs ran off.

“Definitely something we need to review,” said Herrera.

Herrera said it’s not uncommon for animals to get away even from a shelter, about one to two are lost a week.

He says it’s possible, if your pet escaped your yard, it could escape the shelter.

“It’s something that the shelter animal world deals with but it’s always something we are looking to improve on,” said Herrera.

KFOX14 Investigates sent an open-records request for any complaints filed regarding a lost pet; the city tells us they have no records of any complaints.

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