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'To give them the best chance': Talk of change in Okmulgee Co. after dog's death

Okmulgee Animal Shelter
Posted at 7:01 PM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 20:17:42-04

OKMULGEE, Okla. — A dog's euthanization at the Okmulgee Animal Shelter sparked outrage on social media.

2 News Oklahoma was at Okmulgee County Humane Society on April 12 when a young man learned his dog died earlier the same day.

The organization posted about it on Facebook:

Right now, the City of Okmulgee requires a minimum 72-hour hold for animals in the shelter. Meaning an animal must go through the full 72 hours at the shelter before officials consider euthanization.

In this incident, records show the dog just the 72-hour mark and was taken to be euthanized, according to the Okmulgee Police Department.

2 News talked to Okmulgee Police Chief Danny Owen about the dog's death.

"The outcome of this, I don’t think it was desired by anyone," Owen said. "Obviously, the pet owner, the animal control officer, and I, myself included, you know. I’m a pet owner. You know, I think everyone has a soft spot for animals, and we want to try to give them the best chance we can with the system we have."

Owen said he talked to staff at the humane society and the animal control officer on April 15.  The humane society is currently located inside the Okmulgee Animal Shelter.

They recently purchased a new building that needs extensive renovation.

WATCH: 2 News learned about their next location:

New Building Hopes to add no Kill Shelter

City ordinances limit the amount the organization can use shelter. Owen told 2 News he's going to look into to that to address some of the concerns.

"We look forward to at least working with them. Maybe making things a little bit better, maybe working through some things where maybe we can have a little more leeway. A lot of things are set by ordinances, rules, stuff like that. But I think in some cases we can be flexible," said Owen.

One of the things he looks to address is when euthanizations occur. He hopes to implement a multi-signature system to allow more voices to be involved before a dog is put down.

The Okmulgee County Humane Society sent a statement to 2 News about the incident and some things for the future.

Regarding the tragedy Friday:
While our staff attempted multiple calls to Dispatch and to the receiving veterinary clinic who contracts with the City of Okmulgee, contact to reach the City of Okmulgee Animal Control Officer — who ultimately can make the call — was unsuccessful. We did all that we could to prevent this gentleman’s dog from euthanasia and do believe there was enough time to have successfully intervened — should contact have been made. As a no-kill humane society, OCHS expresses our heartfelt condolences to the dog owner and while one dog cannot replace another, we wish to offer him an adoptable of his choice when he feels he is ready.

Regarding the future of OCHS and City of Okmulgee:
With the new adoption center planned for Okmulgee County Humane Society, the organization aims to continue pulling dogs and cats at risk for euthanasia from the City of Okmulgee Animal Shelter, as well as those in need in the county. We are hopeful that the recent report presented to leadership showing the elevated level of animal welfare and adoptions occurring within other Oklahoma city shelters may encourage a change in policy, including offering adoptions to the public and posting intakes to make owners aware. There is a great need and while a small and mighty no-kill humane society, there is more need than OCHS can endure alone.

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