Last month, PETA released photographs given to them by a whistleblower at the El Paso, TX, pound. The photographs show dogs being mauled by other dogs, one dead puppy covered in blood with one forelimb gnawed completely to the bone and the other partially eaten. (To view that photograph, click here.) They also show the dead cat posted above.
In a letter to the City of El Paso, PETA — which itself kills thousands of animals every year without ever trying to find them homes and which has publicly defended shelters with similarly cruel conditions in the past — called for a criminal investigation in this case. A spokesman for the El Paso Police Department subsequently indicated that their investigation found no “criminal wrongdoing.”
In my original article about this tragedy, I reported that this was not the first time dogs died at the El Paso pound due to neglectful conditions and that the situation called for both reform to prevent future deaths and accountability, including the termination of the director. By contrast, PETA was exploiting the tragedy in a bid to further harm animals. They wanted more animals killed.
In a follow-up article, I released a copy of the police report I received under the Public Records Act that showed the investigating officer tried to speak to the reporting party at PETA, who failed or refused to provide any additional information. I also noted that the investigating officer spoke to the pound director, but did not report any of her statements relative to the injuries and deaths of the particular dogs (or the cat). Instead, she is said to have stated that the conditions which led to the injuries and deaths “were addressed.”
In other words, she did not appear to dispute the authenticity of the photographs, the conditions that gave rise to the case, or the fact that animals were both injured and killed because of those conditions. That seemed to satisfy the officer as no other witnesses or staff, including those who would have firsthand knowledge of conditions, were interviewed. Instead, another police officer gave a general “character reference,” but possessed no knowledge of the facts of the current case, which appeared to be both unusual and inappropriate. The investigation appeared to fall short of professional standards and may amount to self-investigation by the city.
As such, I subsequently requested a copy of the videotape of the interview with the pound’s director, but the El Paso Police Department will not release it. They are claiming that since no charges were brought, it is exempt from disclosure and have moved to block its release by appealing to the Texas Attorney General. Once again, the animals come away the losers.
This is especially concerning because nothing released so far alters my original conclusion: we must reform the El Paso pound, including firing those responsible. At the same time, we must challenge and hold PETA accountable which is exploiting the tragedy to promote their own sordid and nefarious agenda that would perpetuate a system that visits upon defenseless animals even more death.
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