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Sugar Land fires 5 Animal Services workers after 38 unauthorized euthanizations, city says

The city said it is continuing to work to put measures in place to prevent future situations like this from happening.

SUGAR LAND, Texas — The city of Sugar Land has fired five Animal Services employees after they say a multi-department investigation uncovered the unauthorized euthanization of 38 cats and dogs.

According to the city, the employees claimed that the animals either had a medical diagnosis or showed aggressive behavior, both of which require an evaluation from a professional to determine whether euthanization is necessary.

"Proper procedures were not followed, verbal instructions were ignored and employees knowingly disobeyed direct orders and the Animal Services Division Manual of Standard Operating Procedures," the city said.

The city said it is continuing to work to put measures in place to prevent future situations like this from happening.

“What happened there was completely unacceptable and should not have occurred," said city spokesperson Doug Adolph. "When we first learned about this incident our first reaction was obvious shock and disappointment… but as the scope of the investigation moved forward and we determined the number of animals that were truly involved, that reaction quickly turned to anger, bordering on rage.”  

In addition to the five employees who were fired, the city said the shelter manager resigned before he could be fired.

"It will take time to rebuild public trust, but the city is committed to doing so. The swift and deliberate investigation and disciplinary actions are a start," the city said.

City employees from other offices and departments will be temporarily assigned to help the shelter until new employees can be hired. The city doesn't expect any animal shelter services to change during this process.

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