Galveston County Animal Shelter Won't Answer Questions About Bloodied Dog

Categories: Texas

NINA.jpg
"I Went to the Galveston County Shelter And All I Got Was This Lousy Bloody Head!"
A Great Dane at the center of a custody dispute in Galveston County is now evidence in a criminal investigation, but Galveston officials are mum on who is being investigated, and for what.

A photo of the dog -- her face covered in blood -- taken from within the Galveston County animal shelter went viral Wednesday after the operator of a Great Dane rescue group posted it on Facebook. Shelter officials say the dog was brought to the shelter December 9 after a resident called, saying he had trapped the dog in his garage. The dog's ownership is unclear.

A statement on the Galveston County Animal Resource Center's website states that "Due to her aggression at the time, a catch pole was utilized," and that the dog injured herself while biting the catch pole.

When no owners stepped forward by December 12, local attorneys acting on behalf of the New York City-based Lexus Project stepped in and were granted temporary custody by a Galveston County judge.

But Jana Landry, an attorney with Lexus, tells us that when another attorney went to the shelter Friday afternoon to get the dog, that attorney was told the dog could not be released and was considered evidence in a criminal investigation.

Friday afternoon, the Galveston County Legal Department filed a motion to quash the temporary restraining order, as well as affidavits from Galveston County Health District CEO Harlan Mark Guidry and the District's animal services manager, Amber Adams, stating that they are aware "the Galveston County Sheriff's Office has an open investigation related to the treatment of the Great Dane and understands that the Great Dane must be safely and humanely maintained."

Adams also declared in her affidavit that "I have spoken with an organization named Dog Dynasty, which advises that the Great Dane is named Nina, and that Dog Dynasty owned and adopted Nina out to Debra Mahaffey."

However, Dog Dynasty owner Mike Glover told us Friday, shortly before the affidavits were filed, that "We never had it....we never even seen the dog," and only posted the dog's photo to try to find a potential adopter. Also, the group states on its Facebook that "We at Dog Dynasty only courtesy posted her picture in hopes of finding a foster/forever home."

He referred us to his wife, Paula, for more information, but she could not be reached.

We tried to reach Mike Glover after reading the affidavit stating that the dog had been adopted through his group -- apparently without anyone from Dog Dynasty ever laying eyes on her -- but the woman who answered the phone hung up on us. 'Cause that's how Dog Dynasty rolls.

We're just a little puzzled as to how this cluster started in the first place.

We're guessing it started when shelter operators sat around their office Monday, brainstorming ways to create a public relations nightmare that would make them look incompetent at best and shady at worst. Their "Eureka!" moment came after a blood-covered dog was allowed to languish in a cage long enough for someone to surreptitiously take a photo.

The photo found its way to Judy Jones, who runs a Great Dane rescue group. She tells us she called the shelter, asking for the dog -- now confusingly called both Nina and Fine Wine -- to be released into her group's care following the mandatory 72-hour hold. Jones says she feared that, if no one stepped forward to claim ownership, Nina would be put down.

Jones says her repeated requests fell on deaf ears, which played perfectly into the shelter officials' plan to achieve maximum stupidity. See, now that a gruesome photo had been leaked, there was a good chance for it to go viral and invite all kinds of scrutiny, and shelter officials could hang one of those "Mission Accomplished" banners from the ceiling.

Lo an behold, when Jones posted the photo, the shelter officials' dream came true. Then KHOU covered the story -- only shelter officials may have been disappointed because it focused more on an enigmatic character named Carl Townley, who showed up at the last minute, claiming that the dog really belonged with him and his fiancee.

Meanwhile, shelter officials posted a vague and poorly worded statement on the ARC's website. According to the statement, Nina was brought to the shelter December 9, at which time "The condition of the dog was viewed by a veterinarian on Monday." (We're not exactly sure what that means. Did the veterinarian stroll by the cage, hummin' a tune, and take a gander at ol' Nina's noggin? Or did he, like, examine her and stuff? Shelter officials won't elaborate).

Then, "on Tuesday, a claim of abuse was made and an investigator came to the ARC to view her. He attempted to take the dog to a vet, but could not without sedation due to her aggression." The dog was not "examined" by a veterinarian until Wednesday, at which point Nina was deemed to have "minor wounds to the lips and tongue and consistent with biting a catch pole."

According to officials, "She will not, and never was, going to be euthanized."

Officials also stated that the dog "was picked up with license tags and the ARC staff has been actively searching for the dog's owner," which conflicts with Carl Townley's claims.

We tried to get shelter officials to explain who initially claimed abuse, and why it appears that a dog that was bleeding from the mouth was not thoroughly examined for two days. We were first told we'd hear from a shelter supervisor as soon as they got off the phone. When we didn't (surprise) we called back and asked to be placed on hold. Then an administrative assistant named Michael Johnson got on the line and referred us to shelter spokesman Kurt Koopman.

So we called Koopman. Then we called him again. A few hours later, he emailed The Houston Press' general inbox with this: "As of this morning due to pending litigation I am unable to comment on the Great Dane in Texas City."

Thanks, Kurt! Bang-up job, guy.

Still eager to find information, we attempted to reach a few members of the ARC's Animal Services Advisory Committee, including veterinarian Lori Honeycutt, who hung up on us. We also tried to reach two other members, including one for whom an incorrect number was listed, and another who was no longer actually on the committee.

That's one crack advisory committee right there. Keep up the good work!

The remarkable thing is, according to Landry of the Lexus Project, Nina now seems to be in good shape. We simply don't understand why Nina can't be "evidence" while temporarily hanging out in a loving home, rather than in the custody of the idiots who triggered this nonsense in the first place.

We hope to find out more soon, and will update as necessary.



My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
mythsdreams
mythsdreams

Community rescue groups are the people who help prevent healthy animals from being killed by county animal shelters. Keeping animals out of gas chambers and from the needles and saving lives of innocent animals. In Brevard County Fl http://www.melfla.com/ our animal services shelters are refusing to let community rescue groups do their thing and animals are needlessly dying. When animal services is forced to work with these groups the system works. In less than 4 weeks 169 cats were adopted after an adoption center was set up in the local mall controlled by a rescue group. Yet BASE continues to turn their head to what can be done when people put their minds to saving animals in county shelters. My first hand experience with Herbie the Cat http://www.melfla.com/Herbie.html should have been a feel good story but instead Herbie is a statistic.  His fate was with the Gas Chamber man http://www.melfla.com/letterofgaschamber.html and he was killed two hours before I could rescue him. I urge everyone to take action to make sure your community joins the other 200+ towns, cities and organizations that are now NO KILL facilities where 90% or more of the animals are saved. 


Contact Brevard County Animal Services and tell them to stop killing healthy animals http://www.melfla.com/e-maillist.html

#Herbiethecat

Lea Brice Hougland
Lea Brice Hougland

I know this picture is sad and I hate to see pictures of an animal suffering, but it sounds like there's more to this story. Also, if the dog is aggressive, it's likely that she won't allow a human to bring her into their "loving home." And, I've been to this shelter twice. Once on a school field trip and once to donate supplies to this shelter as a school fundraiser. I communicated personally with Amber Adams, who was always extremely courteous and professional. The shelter itself is very clean and well-maintained. I believe the shelter is absolutely doing what is necessary to help this dog. Let's not jump to conclusions about the shelter itself. It's likely that their hands are tied if attorneys are involved.

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

Galveston is special.  Years ago the hospital had the ambulance dump a homeless patient that the cops dumped on them.  Yet Galveston styles itself as a high end tourist trap...

dwaites52
dwaites52

they need to get her out of there now before she just "happens" to die while there. this is horrible that a dog has been treated this way, and from what I have read its not the first time, hopefully with all this attention it will be the last time though. they aren't going to give her the care she needs to recover from this emotionally, yes they will probably feed her while there and they are being watched, but she needs someone to help her get over this traumatic event. she will need her confidence restored, she will need talked to, petted,  not poked at as they walk by her kennel, or yelled at every chance they get,  please find a way to get her out of there

Ashley Walker
Ashley Walker

Yes and your tax dollars go towards killing dogs. This place is horrible! They are currently under investigation for animal cruelty. There is no telling what they get away with. If you guys need more info on this facility and their animal cruelty allegations you can message me. Thank you for posting this and spread the word about gcarc. They are criminals! Lots of cover ups too.

dmheric
dmheric

Great article! This shelter has a history of neglect and abuse back in July. They kill most of the dogs there. They weren't going to get that dog medical care till the photo was posted and there was an outcry....just let it bleed all over the place for 3 days. Pathetic cold hearted people that work in Gavelston shelter.

Angry in North Carolina.

wendie1966
wendie1966

Thank you for publishing the truth.  The first time someone has actually spoken or at least tried to speak to both sides.  It is quite obvious with the lack of cooperation you received that they know their gig is up.  As far as the adopter sent in to adopt her yesterday...the man didn't even know the name of the rescue he was adopting from until someone told him and the news went with it like his word was golden....Seriously terrible media coverage by them.  Hopefully she will be released soon to the Lexus Project and not have to go through a lengthy sequestration by people who don't even know what they are investigating with people who obviously don't care about her even in the slightest way, if they did they wouldn't have waited to give the poor girl medical care for over 2.5 days.  If you ask me they make themselves look as if they are trying to buy time to have her wounds heal.  They may as well give it up.  Thank you again!!

missmegerah
missmegerah

GET HER OUT NOW!!!!..they dont know what they are doing...Media EVERYwhere so they WONT want to keep her...

Lynn McMullin
Lynn McMullin

I know people all over the county posting about this sad situation. It's reached national attention.

Casey Buhrer
Casey Buhrer

So this is what happens when your dog gets lost in Galveston County? Yikes.

Lori Pire
Lori Pire

Thanks for following up on this. That particular shelter is bad news, apparently.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

OMG I'll take the poor dog! :(

portctygirl
portctygirl

Ashley, I just did a friend request to you on Facebook. My name is Carol Givens and my Facebook page concentrates on saving dogs and stopping animal cruelty. This shelter sounds like it needs a total overhaul and everyone who works there now should be fired and probably brought up on cruelty charges. Please do me a favor and friend me and message me privately and tell me all you know about this shelter. I can imagine the cover ups because that's just what they have tried in vain to do here, with poor beaten Nina. That was a big mistake and to treat us as if we're stupid is another one. No amount of chewing on, attacking even, a catch pole could do the damage I saw done to this dog, one of the sweetest breeds there are. I have a few plans in mind, but please message me! Thanks!

portctygirl
portctygirl

@dmheric

I am very angry in NC also! Just because we're in NC doesn't mean we cannot do something about this shelter

portctygirl
portctygirl

It sure has and hopefully for the dogs there in Galveston, it's reached the right people who will not let this go. I'm one and I have over 2,000 friends just like me, who I'll share this with, with one little click

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...