County shelter admits to accidentally euthanizing woman's dog

- “Those dogs are like part of the family," said Amy Kroll.

Kroll says Diesel and Chelsea were like children to her mother Cathy Foster. Kroll had been watching the dogs because her mother’s home was destroyed in a fire.

“She had raised the dogs since they were puppies,” Kroll said. “They were both approximately 4 years old.”

Kroll says Harris County Animal Control took Diesel Chelsea and a puppy out of her ungated front yard because someone had complained about them running loose. By law animal control officers can consider dogs running loose if they have access to a sidewalk or street.

Kroll says the animal control officer told her she would be fined $500 for each dog.

“I can’t afford a $1500 ticket so I said 'ok take them' and I asked her how much it would cost to get them out,” said Kroll. Kroll says she was told $200 for each dog.

She says they agreed to give the puppy to a rescue group but they told the shelter they were going to pay to get Chelsea and Diesel. The shelter confirms they spoke to Foster again last Wednesday about picking Chelsea and Diesel up Friday afternoon.

“The kennel manager came out and left the door open,” Kroll said. “I saw my mother crying. I said 'please tell me you didn’t lose my mom’s dog.'”
It was worse.

The shelter says that morning Chelsea was accidentally euthanized.

“My brother, his words were 'it would be like me going to prison and accidentally getting the death penalty,'” Kroll said.

If the accidental euthanasia wasn’t enough, the county shelter is also reeling from a possible canine distemper outbreak. In an e-mail to rescue groups, adopters, and fosters the shelter says it’s confirmed five cases of canine distemper. The dogs in question were in the shelter from June 15 through June 30. Canine Distemper is a highly contagious potentially deadly disease. If further investigation reveals a potential outbreak the shelter says it will activate it’s code red procedures.

As for Chelsea being accidentally euthanized, Dr. Michael White, director of the Harris County Animal Shelter, says he’s heartbroken and apologized to Chelsea’s owner for this regrettable mistake.

As a result of this incident White says the appropriate employees have been disciplined and he will implement additional employee training to prevent this from happening in the future.

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