A small community newspaper claims they have spoken with witnesses who have observed animal cruelty in the city of Eufaula. The Barbour County Reporter said officials are not euthanizing and disposing of dogs correctly.
John Carroll and Robbie Pelham published a story on the barbourcountyreporter.com detailing interviews they claim they have conducted with current and former city of Eufaula employees.
"It was so bad at first, that we didn't even believe it," said Carroll.
these unnamed sources are quoted in their article describing observations of improperly euthanized dogs in the care of Animal Control.
On Friday, the two men took our cameras to a dumpster surrounded by the bodies of animals in various sates of decomposition. They claim this is where the city drops off the bodies of euthanized stray dogs, and they are not being disposed of properly.
They claim there used to be hundreds of dog carcasses in this location.
"They [unnamed sources] showed us some images of a dog holocaust. It was just unconscionable what we saw," said Carroll.
Based on the interviews they say they conducted, the newspaper accuses a veterinary doctor in Eufaula of euthanizing dogs by injecting a needle into their heart without sedation.
If the claim is true, a Columbus veterinarian said that would mean the dogs are suffering intense pain as they are being put to sleep.
The paper also accuses the doctor of ordering animal control officers to put dogs in the dumpster that were still alive.
WTVM wanted to get the other side of the story, so we went to the veterinarian that the Barbour County Reporter names in it article, but the doctor drove away as we approached his clinic.
A woman inside the building locked the door and put up a sign to say they were closed, but according to the hours, closing time was not for another 90 minutes.
Eufaula councilman Robert Powers met us in his office today. He said he did not have very much information and declined to do an interview on camera, because he was not prepared to speak on the subject. The mayor and the police department did not return our calls or messages.
The city later provided us with a written statement denying all of the claims. The full text is here:
The Eufaula Police Department's Animal Control Division performs all duties required of them in a professional manner and in accordance with applicable state laws and city ordinances. "Animal Control" is often the handling of feral, sick, aggressive, or otherwise unadoptable animals. For those animals that are healthy and of temperament to be relocated, home are actively sought when possible. However, the fundamental mission of the Animal Control Division is not to rehabilitate, rescue, or solely adopt animals, which is typically the mission of a humane society or local rescue group.
Our primary concern and duty is to protect the health and safety of our citizens. We recognize the unpopular position that places us in at times and we do not take that responsibility lightly. With continued training, conformance with law, and cooperation from overseeing state agencies, we will continue to offer assistance to the citizens of Eufaula in respect to animal control. We could not be able to fully meet the demands of this responsibility without the professionalism from veterinarians such as Dr. Tommy Horne, who has provided years of service to an unfortunate and unpleasant process with integrity and respect for the animals involved.
As always, we ask for the public to assist us and to be responsible animal owners and have their pets spayed an neutered to help control the animal population in town.
WTVM asked the newspaper to contact the sources they quoted in their article, and request interviews on our behalf, but those unnamed sources did not want to speak with us directly Friday night. We also ran into a current animal control officer at the Eufaula Police Department, but he referred us to his supervisors who have not returned calls.
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