Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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July 18, 2013

City Council unanimously approves animal shelter policy change, seeks to change ordinance

Saldana family declares victory, finds closure

By CLINT FOSTER

Micha Saldana seemingly struggled to hold back tears as she recounted the story of her dogs’ deaths, for what may have felt like the 100th time.

It had been eight days since her family learned their two puppies  an Australian Shepherd/Texas Heeler, named Doc Holliday, and Bull Terrier, named Red  had been euthanized by the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter. This was despite multiple attempts by the Saldanas to get them back.

Her husband, Mark, was by her side Tuesday night, as the two stood before Mineral Wells City Council at the City Hall Annex. They appeared to humbly, yet firmly, urge the council that their dogs’ deaths would not be in vain.

Many citizens and members of animal groups were in attendance to support the Saldana family’s endeavor.

After council members heard the Saldanas, they unanimously approved a policy change but could not yet change the ordinance.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, the policy allowed animal control staff to euthanize an animal after a 72-hour hold, which included the animal’s date of pick up and date of euthanasia. The new policy would not include the pick-up date or the euthanization date, resulting in extending the amount of time a potential owner would have to retrieve their pet from the animal shelter.

The council also wanted to immediately begin the process of changing city ordinance 18-123, which reads that any animal not claimed after 72 hours may be humanely euthanized.

Council Member Bill Terry suggested the ordinance be extended to five business days, not including pick-up, euthanasia or holidays.

Other council members suggested multiple other changes that could improve the system, as well.

“One of the things we can do quickly is we can make a policy change ... It takes a while to change an ordinance,” Mayor Mike Allen explained during the meeting. “My heart goes out to everyone. I have a rescue dog; I love animals. We want to get this fixed.”

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