South Houston Animal Shelter director faces more allegations from former animal control officers

On Thursday, shelter director Jana Martinez offered to give us a tour of the shelter on Friday. We got the tour, but Martinez wasn't there.

We were met by an animal control officer, the city's HR representative, and the only shelter employee we saw during our visit.

There are a lot of great dogs at the shelter, but Martinez told us not one dog has been adopted from the shelter since 2022.

For the most part, the shelter was clean but smelled like bleach.

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

"The director is purchasing 50 to 60 gallons of bleach every two weeks," said former animal control officer Savannah Archer. Martinez told us it's city policy to clean the kennels with bleach.

She says the dogs are kept inside the kennels during the cleaning because there's nowhere else for them to go.

"I would like to see the immediate stop of using bleach yesterday," said City of South Houston resident Sophia Saenz.

Martinez told us she kept four of her own dogs at the shelter for three months and Mayor Joe Soto was aware. But two former animal control officers who resigned and the founder of a rescue group told us Martinez kept six of her own dogs and six of her own cats at the shelter for at least a year and a half. We have video and pictures of them.

"At least all the time I worked there for a year and a half, she has six dogs and six cats," Savannah said.

"The director's dogs were all in the rabies quarantine and when the state came, we were told to hide their dogs real quick and take them out of the quarantine kennels," said former animal control officer Lisa Jones.

While serving as shelter director, Martinez ran a rescue group called Forgotten Paws of Texas.

"Selling animals and receiving funds through the adoption fees while using tax dollars to neuter spay and vet the animals. It's a conflict of interest," Saenz said.


"I think any place that accepts cash at the gate is not good," Lisa said.

She says she resigned over how Martinez collected money from people who wanted to get their found pets out of the shelter.

"You might be paying $70 or you might be paying $300 or $400," said Lisa. "Instead of going down to city hall you had to pay there at the gate and you either had to pay cash or you had to pay it to the director's Cash App."