Houston animal control officer may lose job after dog deaths


by Brad Woodard / 11 News


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 23 at 5:53 PM

HOUSTON - Was it a deadly mistake or a mechanical malfunction?

Deadly mistake may mean the end of a job
September 3, 2008

Last week, an animal control officer reportedly left her air conditioning on for the nine dogs in her truck. But when she came back 40 minutes later, she found it wasn't working and .

Reaction to the situation has been dramatic, but the animal control officer at the center of the incident, Beverly Tucker, said she's an animal lover.

"I've been accused of almost everything from murdering dogs to not doing my job properly," said Tucker.

Tucker said she tried to save the dogs.

"I had three bottles of water in my truck. I grabbed them and poured them on the dogs. I opened all the windows to the cages, hoping they would get enough air to get them to BARC," said Tucker.

In the end, BARC reported that eight dogs died from the heat and that another survived. Tucker said it was only six that died because of the heat.

Whether it was six or eight, a spokesperson with the Houston health department which oversees BARC said the situation could have been avoided if Tucker had followed summer procedures.

According to BARC, one of the requirements is off-loading of trucks as soon as they're full.

Tucker claimed there is no such policy.

BARC insisted the policy does exist. They also contend that the deaths were the result of human error and not mechanical failure.

The City has promised swift action against Tucker because of the alleged mistake.

"I was told today that I'll probably be terminated," said Tucker.