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KFOX14 Investigates: Dog's dying in care at Animal Services

KFOX14 Investigates: Dog’s dying in care at Animal Services

Viewers contacted KFOX14 Investigates and asked us to look into a handful of recent dog deaths at the city shelter KFOX14 Chief Investigative Reporter Genevieve Curtis, looked into it.

Viewers told KFOX14 Investigates they were concerned animals died from the cold temperatures—while being housed in outdoor kennels.

El Paso police animal cruelty detectives also investigated, this is what we found.

On Dec. 27, animal services moved around 30 dogs to a temporary shelter, at Sunrise Park in the Northeast due to extreme weather

“It wasn’t a reaction as to any deaths that occurred,” said Animal Services director, Paula Powell.

Dogs that were moved had been housed in outdoor kennels and some in the barn.

These spaces were built by animal services, in order to make more room at the shelter -- to save more lives.

“We needed space for our larger dogs,” said Powell.

Powell said the larger breed dogs like shepherds and huskies are the type housed outside.

KFOX14 Investigates obtained records for four dogs which died in the barn or outdoor kennels in December.

Two shepherd mixes and two pit bull mixes.

In the records we obtained, one dog was already sick. It had been on the list to euthanize but director Powell held off to see if the medicine the dog was on would take its course.

She said in the shelter's goal of becoming no-kill, they're providing care longer than ever before.

“We are doing everything can, we are doing medical procedures we don’t normally do,” said Powell.

The cause of death for the other three dogs remains unknown.

“We have unknowns, we don’t know where they came from, we are shelter medicine. We don’t have capabilities to do X-rays, stuff like that,” said Powell.

One dog died on the Dec. 26, the other two on the 27, the same day the dogs were move to the Sunrise Emergency Shelter.

“When you have to move 400 animals for cold weather you move well in advance,” said Powell.

Powell said weather was not a factor.

“We looked into it, the weather that day, their conditions, we didn’t attribute any of it to cold weather,” said Powell.

Kfox14 meteorologist, Sandra Diaz and KFOX14 Investigates looked at the temperatures for

all of the nights in question. It showed temperatures were in the 40s, the lowest it went one night was 39.

Detectives with the El Paso police animal cruelty unit investigated, and finding no wrong doing, closed the case.

Powell said one of the biggest challenges remaining is un-vaccinated animals, which can bring disease into the shelter

“If they come to the shelter with the other un-vaccinated animals they could get sick,” said Powell.

It's an area where they need the community to do its part.

“We need the community to vaccinate your pets/ spay and neuter your pets so if they do end up at the shelter they don't get sick,” said Powell.

The Sunrise temporary shelter is part of the shelter's emergency action plan. Powell said they are constantly evaluating the weather.

Even though temperatures have warmed,

the larger dogs remain at Sunrise, as the outdoor runs are updated.

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