Mayor Dennis Kintigh discusses the Roswell Animal Services adoption policies during a news conference on Monday at City Hall. The city allowed the Roswell Humane Society to resume rescuing dogs from the shelter on Monday. (Randal Seyler Photo)
Mayor Dennis Kintigh announced that the city had resumed allowing the Humane Society to rescue animals from the city shelter during a news conference on Monday.
However, the rescue group that had custody of the dogs involved in the attack on a 9-year-old boy last week will not be allowed to take animals from the city shelter unless they agree to the city’s new terms.
“First off, we have not euthanized all the animals in the shelter, and we have not stopped all adoptions,” Kintigh said. “There is a lot of misinformation circulating on the internet and I wanted to get that straight.”
Kintigh said the city had suspended adoptions to local rescue organizations pending investigations by city and county officials.
“I took the position on Thursday that the city would not allow any local rescue groups to take animals from the city animal shelter until after the investigations were completed,” Kintigh said.
The mayor said that his decision affected only two rescue groups in Roswell — the Roswell Humane Society, which is located next door to the city Animal Services building, and the Animal Welfare Alliance.
“The Humane Society was in no way involved with this incident, and I met with representatives from their organization this morning,” Kintigh said. The investigations from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and the city are complete, and an agreement has been signed with the Humane Society so that the organization can resume taking animals from the city shelter.
Representatives from the Animal Welfare Alliance did not meet with the mayor on Monday, nor had the AWA returned calls from the mayor’s office, Kintigh said.
On June 11, a pack of three pit bull terrier-mixed breed dogs escaped from a kennel operated by Doggy Saviors, a local rescue, and attacked Colby Prince, sending him to the hospital. The kennel was located outside the city limits, but it was holding animals from the city shelter pending the animals being transported to a shelter in Colorado.
The boy’s father shot and killed one of the dogs, and wounded a second dog, which was later euthanized by animal control officers.
Doggy Saviors was fostering animals for AWA, and according to the animal control officers who responded to the incident on June 11, the animals were being kept in unsanitary conditions.
Doggy Saviors surrendered not only the surviving dogs from the attack, but a total of 16 animals back to the city.
Twelve of those 16 animals were successfully transported to Colorado, while four animals remained in custody of the Roswell Animal Shelter.
“The city will allow any rescue organization to take animals from the shelter, but they have to show us proof of their 501c3 status and sign an agreement to allow the city to inspect their kennels,” Kintigh said.
The dogs at Doggy Saviors were being kept in deplorable conditions, Kintigh said, and in the future the city would reserve the right to inspect any facility rescuing animals from the shelter.
Even out-of-town shelters will be required to sign the city’s agreement and will be subject to inspections, Kintigh said. “We may not travel to Albuquerque, but we sure could ask their animal control officers to do an inspection for us.”
The animal rescue groups, both local and out of state, handle between 2,000 and 3,000 animals per year from the Roswell shelter, and they provide an important service, Kintigh said. But the city wants to make sure animals taken from the shelter are being treated properly.
The district attorney is considering whether or not to press charges in the dog attack, Kintigh said. The kennel owners were cited for having animals at large, but could face animal cruelty charges.
When asked about the numerous comments online about his decision to suspend rescues, Kintigh declined comment.
“I don’t think you can communicate with them,” Kintigh said. “It’s not my job as mayor to win people’s favor, it’s my job to protect the community.”
A call to the Animal Welfare Alliance from the Roswell Daily Record was not returned before press time on Monday.
Roswell City Councilor Tabitha Denny, left, and investigator Steve Halvorson, right, look at photos from the investigation into the kennel housing three dogs that escaped and mauled a 9-year-old boy last week. The mayor said the kennel was keeping the animals in “deplorable” conditions. (Randal Seyler Photo)