Dacia Anderson has fostered dogs in Amarillo, Texas, for a couple years and started volunteering at her local humane society shelter last year.
Now she's gone public with her concerns surrounding the decision to euthanize a pit bull and her newborn puppies while she was still in labor.
In a lengthy Facebook post Thursday, Anderson said it all happened on May 10, after she alerted staff from Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare that the dog in kennel G7 had already given birth to one puppy, and she didn't have a whelping box.
That dog was surrendered to the shelter by its owners the previous day, according to Animal Management and Welfare director Richard Havens, who told KAMR those owners characterized the dog as "vicious."
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"She was friendly, but scared, and jumped up on me for comfort," Anderson wrote in her post. "I am aware that euthanasia is a reality at the shelter. I am well aware of the overpopulation problems. I am also well aware that AMW has to make hard decisions. However, I feel that this action is the exact opposite of a what 'the most humane community in the Panhandle of Texas' would do."
That post, which she ended with the hashtag #G7Mattered, had been shared more than 3,700 times and gotten over 1,800 reactions as of Saturday afternoon.
For that, she says, she's been asked to take a temporary leave from volunteering at the humane society, which is separate from AMW. The former handles adoptions and rescue, while AMW, a city government entity, is in charge of intake and euthanasia.
“With our limited budget we just simply can’t save all the animals,” Havens told KVII. “We’re doing the best we can to give them the best chance but when animals come in with behavior issues, those animals will be ultimately put down.”
He confirmed to KAMR that the puppies were euthanized along with their mother. She was put down due to what Havens says was her violent demeanor and a history of aggressive behavior.
But that still leaves Anderson with two gripes. First, that the dog was still in labor at the time she and her pups were put to sleep.
"Her last moments, while she lay dying, were spent still trying to clean her newly birthed puppies," she wrote.
And second, why did the puppies not get a chance to be adopted? Both Anderson and Havens acknowledge the overcrowding in and Amarillo shelter, the same issue that haunts shelters across the state and the country.
Havens told KVII that around 12,000 dogs have been brought to the shelter in each of the last three years.
But Anderson said in an interview with McClatchy that if this particular dog was not a pit bull, AMW would have treated it differently.
"If this had been any other breed, the shelter would not have immediately jumped on the stance that she was aggressive," Anderson said. "I’ve seen others labeled as 'aggressive' by owners be evaluated and left alive. They chose this narrative to cover their butts, and to play on the fear of the public."
But she and Havens do agree on one thing, according to KFDA: To prevent incidents like this one from happening again, people need to step up and foster or adopt animals from local shelters.