TULSA, Okla. — "I found out that there are allegations of abuse, neglect, and inhumane conditions in this facility," said Stacia Alsabrook, co-founder of Justice for the Voiceless.
Their mission is fighting for the better treatment of animals at Tulsa’s Animal Welfare shelter.
"The conditions are not good. Animals are being euthanized at an alarming rate, while transports have stopped to agencies and rescues," Alsabrook said. "There are eyewitness accounts of workers within the shelter mistreating animals."
Alsabrook spoke before Tulsa Councilors, Wednesday night. She mentioned dogs are living in dirty kennels, some of them with serious open wounds.
"There are animals that are wounded that are going without treatment for weeks at a time," Alsabrook said. "Some of them have passed that maybe wouldn't have passed with the right treatment."
Alsabrook says this has been going on for the past 10 years. She recalls what happened to one dog named Pickles.
"The understanding was, when she dropped him off, that he was going to be picked up by a rescue," Alsabrook explains. "The rescue tried to contact the shelter with no answer. The rescue showed up, and he had already been euthanized."
That was the same fate for a once-pregnant Madam Poochie.
"While she was being spayed, the babies were killed," Alsabrook said. "Hundreds upon hundreds of pictures and stories like this of animals being euthanized with full-term babies, being neutered with full-term babies being killed."
Then, there is Anna Humphey's story. She put the money down to adopt a dog. Before she went to pick it up, was told the dog had been euthanized.
"I find out that he was euthanized by a phone call," Alsabrook said.
That happened in October. Humphey was told the dog was put down because it was aggressive.
Ben Kimbro, the City of Tulsa’s Council Vice-Chair responded to the women after they spoke by saying, "Sad and traumatizing experience. There are quite a number of things that are wrong."
When questioned on the incidents, KJRH was sent a statement by Tulsa’s Mayoral Press Secretary, Michelle Brooks.
Tulsa animal welfare has made positive strides in decreasing euthanasia at the shelter. In 2018, the euthanasia rate was 28%, down from 63% in 2009.The City is committed to making much needed improvements to the animal shelter. Over the past year, we have hired additional staff with the goal of improving shelter conditions and increasing operating efficiency. Thanks to Tulsa voters, Improve Our Tulsa will provide an additional $2.1M, adding to $2.7M available from previous capital programs, for much needed shelter improvements, which is forthcoming. We have also extended shelter hours to the weekend and our Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission is in the process of updating the City’s animal ordinances and licensing program. There is much more work to be done after years of underfunding and understaffing at Tulsa Animal Welfare, but the City is committed to this work and providing funding to improve processes and create positive change for animals that are brought to the shelter. The adopted dog that was euthanized in October is the one that veterinary staff determined was too aggressive to be released from a public safety standpoint. Tulsa Animal Welfare cannot recall a specific incident of euthanizing a pregnant dog, but being pregnant is not a specific reason for not euthanizing if it is deemed necessary, i.e., a public safety threat.
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