Baytown animal control officers charged in improper euthanizing

- The Harris County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement on Thursday:

Three animal control officers, who have worked at the Baytown Animal Control & Adoption Center, are charged with improperly euthanizing dogs by subjecting them to pain and anguish while putting them to death, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

The case is rooted in a Baytown Police investigation launched after a former employee claimed euthanasia procedures at the facility were being violated.

Under Texas law, the animals are required to be sedated prior to being euthanized. The defendants are also accused of disposing of the animals’ bodies, including stuffing them into plastic bags, without first checking vital signs to confirm if they were dead.

“When people think of their local animal shelter, most are realistic and recognize that animals are being euthanized every day,” Assistant District Attorney and Animal Cruelty Section Chief Jessica Milligan said, “but they don’t want the animals to suffer.”

Footage recorded by the shelter’s surveillance system showed the officers were “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” carrying out euthanasia without prior sedation, according to prosecutors..

Tod Brooks, 53; Veronica Jimenez, 33 and Christopher Nightingale, 27 are each charged with improper euthanasia of animals for incidents involving dogs in May, 2015.

“The job of an animal control officer is not an easy job, but it requires compassion and empathy,” Milligan said. “It’s unfortunate that these particular officers didn’t exhibit the compassion towards animals that we as a community expect and Texas laws require.”

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