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Statement and Information Regarding FORMER Animal Control Officers Charged

Post Date:05/12/2017 10:22 AM

Statement and Information Regarding FORMER Animal Control Officers Charged

 
The City of Baytown has been advised by the Harris County DA’s Office that three former Animal Control Officers have been charged stemming from a 2015 complaint. The city has cooperated with the investigation and has overseen two separate reviews of the Animal Control Division to ensure that our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Policies are in line with and exceed State requirements. None of the three individuals named in the case are current City of Baytown employees.
 
“The City of Baytown does not condone the inhumane treatment of animals, especially those in our care.  Our procedures and policies reflect that,” said Public Affairs Coordinator Patti Jett. “We have and will continue to cooperate with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.”
 
Questions pertaining to the recent charges filed should be sent to the Harris County DA’s Office.
Questions pertaining to the Baytown Police Dept.’s 2015 investigation can be sent to Lieutenant Steve Dorris, City of Baytown Police Department, 281-420-6617. (steve.dorris@baytown.org)
 
 
Below you’ll find a recap of the City’s efforts since we learned of the allegations in 2015. Questions pertaining to these efforts and current operations of the facility can be sent to Patti Jett, Public Affairs Coordinator, 281-420-5802 (patti.jett@baytown.org)
 
After receiving the complaint in 2015, city leadership initiated the first of two top-to-bottom reviews of the division, including a committee review of SOP and Policies. The second review was done by the City of San Antonio’s Animal Control group. Given recent developments, it is important to note that both reviews stated that the City of Baytown Animal Services operation was fully compliant with State regulations and universally accepted operating procedures. The following is a history of completed and on-going progress improvements that have occurred in the Animal Services division over the past 19 months, based on recommendations from these reviews.
 
Completed Animal Services Improvements:

Increased hours that the shelter is open to the public – Staffing levels allowed Shelter to be re-opened on Thursdays to the public in April 2016. Requested and Hired a new Volunteer/ Outreach Coordinator Sr. ASO staff position:
The position was part of the Health Department’s FY 2016/2017 requested budget, and was filled in March 20, 2017. 

Incorporated the City of San Antonio’s Rescue Group Application as a best practice. Began to use their multi-page Rescue Group application process in May 2016 to ensure that we are dealing with reputable rescue and foster programs.

Established a standardized “New Owner” contract that is the same for Rescue Organizations and Adopters, and is based on San Antonio’s current best practice.  

Created Animal Disposition Standard Operating Procedure that among other improvements requires animals to be available for at least one day prior to being offered to rescue organizations.  This is done to increase the public’s opportunity to provide long term homes to all animals, especially the highly-desirable, full-breed animals. 

Increased the number of Off-Site Adoption Events utilizing the COB Evacuation and Adoption Trailer such as Christmas on the Square, The Nature Center’s “Nurture Nature Festival”, Baytown’s July 4th Celebration, and participated in multiple 3rd party events such as Life to Live’s monthly PetSmart events, Lee College’s Finals with Fido event, and NBC Channel 2/Telemundo’s “Clear the Shelters” summer events.   

Increased the Number of Low Cost Spay and Neuter surgeries from 120 per year to 330 per year by increasing SNAP events from quarterly in FY2015/16, to monthly in FY2016/17.  

Utilized previously obtained USAF kennels to provide overflow housing and out-door kennel space at the Shelter and Jenkins Park.   

Completed the installation of quartz-epoxy floor resurfacing of the Quarantine Kennel to ease cleaning/sanitizing efforts.  

Finished the installation of an emergency generator to completely power the shelter and a sewer lift station in the event of electrical service interruption.

Perhaps most importantly, Adoptions, Owner Reclaims and Rescues from the Animal Shelter went from 1,435 animals in FY 2014/15 to 1,941 animals in FY 2015/16, and an increase in Live Release Outcomes of over 35%.  The same figure for the current year to date is 1,167 Live released animals, with 5 months still to go in the year.  

 
On-Going Animal Services Improvements:

Recruit and Hire replacement Animal Services Officers for open positions.   

Reconfiguration of the Cat Holding, Adoption and Quarantine areas and up-grading network to allow for Outreach/Volunteer office and training space.   

Continue to expand Internet/social media outreach for all activities:  Facebook to include ‘stray animal’ awareness effort; Utilize online marketing sites for adoption (Pet Finder, Pet Harbor, Adopt-a-Pet), or lost animals (LostMyDoggie.com)   

Expand use of Public Affairs office to produce informative videos/web-links for all activities, such as Responsible Pet Ownership, Spay/Neuter Outreach, Alternatives to Pet Surrendering, New Ordinance/Micro-Chipping Requirement Education.   

Continue to pursue other providers of low cost vaccination and micro-chipping services that complement the current and expanded SNAP sterilization events.   

Continue to expand relationships with local and national rescue groups.

Provide up-dates to Chapter 14 ‘Animals’ of the Code of Ordinances

Includes a requirement for Baytown companion animals to be micro-chipped based on San Antonio’s current best practice.

Would conform to existing or expanded animal related state laws concerning tethering, shelter vaccinations, and/or similar items. (Currently, there are several bills under consideration.)  

Continue physical improvement to the shelter.

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