City of South Houston's animal shelter face animal abuse, taxpayer waste allegations

When we asked City of South Houston Animal Shelter Director Jana Martinez how many dogs were adopted from the shelter last year she said zero.

She told us a dog hasn't been adopted from the shelter since 2022.

Two former animal control officers and others have started an organization called Change for the Animals of South Houston. They've been giving South Houston City Council an earful.

In public meetings, the two former animal control officers stated they would clean kennels with bleach while the dogs remained inside.

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"Animals missing their fur, missing their hair and their coats, eyes that have gunk and are bleeding due to the bleach in the kennels," said City of South Houston resident Sophia Saenz. 

"We had dogs that coughed all the time and sneezed all the time and they would give them medication for kennel cough it wasn't kennel cough it was the bleach," said former animal control officer Lisa Jones.

Director Martinez told us it's city policy to clean the kennels with bleach and the dogs have to stay in the kennels because there's no other place for them.

"She has six dogs and six cats that have lived at the shelter," said former animal control officer Savannah Archer. "The employees are not allowed to walk them, and they're not to take them outside and the employees care for those animals."

The director told us four of her dogs stayed at the shelter for three months with the Mayor's blessings. While serving as shelter director, Martinez runs a nonprofit rescue called Forgotten Paws of Texas.

"Taxpayers' money paid for the dog's vet care, all of it, and then the dog went through the rescue. That's supposed to be a nonprofit rescue, but she kept the money. The city never saw any of that money," said animal advocate Nayeli Marroquin.


"We pulled dogs from Pasadena Animal Shelter, Baytown Animal Shelter, La Porte Animal Shelter," Archer said.

"And this was brought up at the city council meeting. ‘Hey, did you know about these dogs being adopted out through her rescue?’ and they had no idea this was going on," Marroquin said.

Martinez told us the CEO of the rescue told her she couldn't talk about it. The CEO is her husband, David, who's also a City of South Houston employee.

He declined to answer our questions about the rescue or his felony convictions.

We left a message for South Houston Mayor Joe Soto, but we've yet to hear back.