Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

August 29, 2013

Dog dispute hits a nerve

Humane Society defends putting puppies to sleep

Athens — A Kemp-area resident who brought eight puppies to the Henderson County Humane Society on Saturday was disturbed to learn that they were euthanized minutes after he authorized their surrender.

Gary Yarbrough said when he surrendered the eight-week-old Labrador-mix puppies, a Humane Society employee told him the shelter would attempt to find a home for the animals.

“They said euthanization was a last resort,” Yarbrough said “She never said they were going to put them down or anything.”

Humane Society shelter advisor Norma Lambert said the decision to euthanize the puppies was made because they were covered in fleas and “not in good shape” due to the heat and other issues. Lambert said they were also not the kind of animals that were likely to be adopted.

“Sometimes the best thing the shelter can do is stop the suffering,” Lambert said.

Yarbrough said the puppies’ mother was a stray dog that had come onto his place a few months ago. One of Yarbrough’s male dogs impregnated the stray, and with six dogs already living there, he had no place for the additional pups.

On Saturday, Yarbrough loaded up the pups and took them to the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Tool, hoping they might find the animals a home. When he was told there was no room for the litter, Yarbrough headed for the shelter in Athens.

“Everybody told us to take them  to Athens because that’s the best place,” Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough entered the Henderson County shelter at about 11:30 a.m., filled out paperwork and wrote a check for $200 — $150 more than the $50 surrender fee. Yarbrough said an employee, Amy Lambert, told him the animals should be able to find good homes and instructed him to pull his pickup around to the back.

“They unloaded them and took them back through the fence,” Yarbrough said. “I had the rest of their bag of dog food and went through the fence to take it to them. A woman  immediately walked me back outside the fence.”

Yarbrough said behind the fence he could see the dogs lying on a table. It looked to him as if the puppies were being examined and were very docile. When he couldn’t get anyone to tell him what was happening to the dogs, Yarbrough got in his truck and drove around to the front and asked for his dogs back. That’s when he was told they had just been euthanized. When Yarbrough asked an employee why they had been put down he was told there wasn’t enough room for them. 

Yarbrough said he wouldn’t have left the animals if he knew they had no chance for adoption.

“If I had known that they were putting those puppies down as they took them from my truck, I would have broken their gate down,” Yarbrough said.

Lambert said the Humane Society personnel should not have allowed him back into the area where the euthanization was taking place.

“I can understand him being upset,” Lambert said. “It wasn’t something we planned to do in his presence,” Lambert said. “He put himself into that area. That’s unfortunate because it was our responsibility not to have that happen.”

Even so, Lambert believes the decision to euthanized the puppies was the right one. Lambert said for the past few months the shelter has been taking in about 600 animals a month. They can’t afford to take care of, or find homes for, that many animals, so hard decisions must be made. Lambert said animals are not normally euthanized so soon after arriving at the shelter, but it does happen sometimes depending on the condition of the dogs. They also consider the likelihood of someone adopting the animal.  

“Whoever is up front is usually a longtime employee,” Lambert said. “They look at the animals. Basically, we don’t get anything around back unless there is some kind of a problem.”

Lambert said it didn’t take Amy long to determine the puppies would go to the back.

“She already knew that we probably couldn’t keep these puppies, but she was thinking when he leaves here there is no other place for him to go,” Lambert said. “The choice for him is to either take them back home where they haven’t gotten the care they should have gotten, or to find a place that looks nice and put them out.

“We don’t want to say up front that we might have to euthanize these puppies. We can’t say that right out to them, but this might be the thing that might just kick us into saying that.”

Lambert said the Henderson County Animal Control Ordinance states that anyone who allows an animal to stay on his property for four consecutive days is considered owner of the animal and is responsible for their welfare. She also said the form that a person must fill out when leaving an animal at the shelter states, “We cannot guarantee placement of any animal that is surrendered to the shelter.”

“If they ask us ‘Are you going to have to euthanized these animals,’ we’ll tell them yes if we think so,’” Lambert said. “The way we’re looking at it is, this may be our opportunity to say, ‘Folks, this is the reality of it,’” Lambert said “Your puppies may be the ones that don’t get to stay.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Former Pct. 5 JP dies

    Judy Newman, who served as Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace for parts of three decades, died Thursday at age 75.

    July 21, 2014

  • ADR logo.tif City of Tool re-zones property for new Dollar General Store

    After an hour-long  public hearing, the Tool City Council voted to re-zone property located at 1301 S. Tool Dr. (Highway 274) from residential to commercial.  This re-zoning was a required condition for a proposed Dollar General Store.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0122.JPG Broken water main

    City of Athens crewmembers worked in falling rain to fix a broken 8-inch cast-iron water main near the intersection of Barker Street and Faulk Street in Athens Thursday.  Workers believed the reason for the break was the age of the water main. Shown are workers Jonathan Davila, Eric Davis and Marion Klutts.  Also present was Dean Burkhalter.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Mover convicted for stealing goods

    A family’s nightmare finally came to an end on June 25 when John Junior Smith, formerly of Tyler, was sentenced to eight years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for his role in defrauding a family who had hired him to move them. 
    Assistant District Attorney Justin Weiner prosecuted the case.  Smith was sentenced in the 173rd Judicial District Court with Judge Dan Moore presiding.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 back to school bash.jpeg Back to School Bash needs donations to help children

    For the second year Leslie Ward has been organizing the Back to School Bash at Cedar Creek Lake. Her goal this year is to provide free hair cuts, immunizations, bibles, backpacks, school supplies and  bags of food to 700 local children.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 CCL ribbon cutting.jpg CCLACC new member

    The Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Friday for new member LaQuinta Inns & Suites in Gun Barrel City. Friends, family and chamber members help Nadina and Reema Patel cut the ribbon. The hotel is owned by Jay Patel and Vimal Patel. Sarah Turner is the general manager of the hotel.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 CCL rotary.jpg Speaker at Rotary Club of CCL

    Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake President Erin Osborn (right) welcomed Pastor Nancy Schoenle as speaker to the Friday Rotary Club meeting. Pastor Nancy is the Director at The Genesis Center. The center is a faith based shelter for women. Genesis provides safety and shelter for victims of domestic violence.  The Center serves Kaufman and Henderson County.  Amanda Michael (center) has lived at the shelter for 10 months. For information The Genesis Center call Pastor Nancy at 972-932-4351.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-18 Athens Rotary guest speaker.jpg Book donated to library

    The Athens Rotary Club donated a book to the Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library in honor of the club’s guest speaker, Justin Balthrop, at Thursday’s meeting received a BBA, Summa Cum Laude from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003, majoring in finance and economics. He worked in the hedge-fund industry for six years, eventually in a senior-research position for a multi-billion-dollar hedge-fund firm managing portfolios of fixed income and equity derivative securities. He is currently enrolled as a finance PhD student at the Rice University Jones School of business, where his research interests are in empirical and theoretical asset pricing. Pictured with Balthrop is Athens Rotary President Kelly Driskell and President-Elect Aaron Lemmons.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gerardo.jpg Gerardo De La Fuente loses battle Thursday

    The Athens High School soccer family is mourning the loss of a former player following the death of Gerardo De La Fuente on Thursday night.
    De La Fuente was a soccer player for coach Jonathan Ryal and scored his first varsity goal in a game back in February of 2013 during his senior year.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-18 Gerald-Ewing.jpg New TVCC coach announced

    A new leader is hired to take over the 8-time National Junior College Athletic Association champion Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals.
    Assistant coach Gerald Ewing will be introduced as the next head women’s basketball coach at TVCC at 10 a.m. Monday at the Student Union Building ballroom. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
    Ewing has been with TVCC for the past two seasons under former coach Elena Lovato, who is now the assistant coach at Mississippi State University.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo