There's 2 sides to every story, we all know that, and I received a story from a very concerned Amarillo citizen about her dog being picked up by Animal Control and them being very abusive to the dog, I mean so far that her dog's neck was broken, he was lying in a puddle of his own vomit when she went to get him, and she had no choice but to put him to sleep.  She's devastated, and I wanted to share with you and see what you think.  I get multiple emails and messages about Amarillo's Animal Control being out of control and I don't share them all, but this one was a must see!  Is Animal Control exercising cruelty to animals?

Before I proceed, I want to make it clear I'm simply passing along information provided by the dog owner.  I know Animal Control has a job to do, and some dogs don't like having a harness put around their neck and will struggle and cause things like neck injuries and more.  So, I'm not pointing a finger at Animal Control, I'm merely sharing this story with you and letting you decide what happened.

Ashley Hicks emails us:

"Justice for Raider

I am writing this letter to express my concerns about a horrible event that happened to me on the afternoon into the night of March 8, 2013. This situation and the events that took place were completely and totally uncalled for and by all accounts inhumane and cruel.

On March 8,2013 I was contacted by the Amarillo Animal control at 3:54 p.m. an informed that mine and my roommate's dogs escaped from our backyard. I was informed they had been picked up by animal control and officers (NAMES WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL) were the officers who responded to the call. On the phone the man notified me that they were worried about Raider stating that Raider was lying down and he believed he was most likely just dehydrated and tired.

Shortly after receiving this call I arrived at the animal control building to pick up our dogs. When I told them I was there to pick up Raider and Nakita they released Nakita to me with no problem. However, Raider on the other hand was a different story. The officers said that when trying to capture Raider he was acting in a very aggressive, aggravated and in a dangerous manner. I was knocked back about this comment because my dog has never risen a hair to anyone he has come in contact with. The officers however kept going on about how Raider was aggressive with them and I continued to disagree with disbelief stating they must of acted in a way with Raider that made him react inappropriately, if the situation they were describing even honestly occurred. Raider is the nicest, sweetest dog with everyone he comes in contact with. I was upset and told them my dog has never acted in this way and told them to just give me my dog. They then told me he was sick and dehydrated from the events of the afternoon. I again asked if I could have my dog and they said it would be best if I go back with them to get him and walk him out myself. When I arrived at the pen Raider was being kept in I was immediately distraught at the scene I walked up on. Raider was laying on his side with his head laying in his own vomit with blood around his mouth and also coming out of he male parts. I became very upset and started crying and holding him. Raider was not even responding to my voice as I called his name and talked to him. At this point I knew something was seriously wrong. I asked the several people around at this time what had happened to my dog and once again all they kept saying is he was dehydrated. I shook my head in disbelief. I got my vehicle and drove around to Raiders pen. Raider was very unresponsive and was not getting up. A staff member and myself had to PICK Raider up and LOAD him into the back seat of my truck. Once I got him comfortable I left the facility very upset and crying because I knew something was very wrong with my dog. I took him to the closest vet, Canyon Road Animal Hospital. I was very disappointed in the service I received here also. The tech only drew blood from Raider and that was the only time she ever touched or laid hands on him. While there he threw up a large amount of blood. The vet tech not once came into check on him even after this. While waiting I started looking Raider over more and noticed that he had a large spot of bruising in the flank of his right leg and his eyes were very red. The tech finally came in about ten minutes later and said that Raiders blood work was normal and she wanted to keep him overnight to keep an eye on him and run an IV to get fluids into his body. I disagreed with her and told her I was going to take him else where because I did not approve of the way she was handling the situation. I then called my dad, which got in touch with my hometown vet who agreed to see Raider when I got into town. I immediately left and headed to Dalhart to get Raider examined by Dr. Atha.

From the first moment Dr. Atha saw Raider he could see something was very wrong with him. By this time Raider’s eyes were rolled in the back of his head, he had very labored breathing and whining in pain. Dr. Atha noticed that Raider had been through some type of physically tragic events and began examining Raider more thoroughly. While trying to move Raider to be better examined he screamed out in agonizing pain. At this point Dr. Atha ceased all movement and became very concerned. He began testing to see if Raider had any sense of feeling in his body from his neck down, and as thought he was unresponsive to any touch and had no feeling from his neck down. By this point even within the 15 minutes of being there Raider showed extreme signs of discomfort and pain and was progressively getting worse. I was extremely heart broken and in pain because all I could do for my baby was just hold him and let him know I was there. Dr. Atha gathered up his X-ray machine and began taking X-rays of Raider’s neck. I had to leave the room; Raider was crying out in pain and began having seizures. My dad who was with me came into the hallway and said I should probably begin preparing for the worse. I stayed in the hallway and just cried. A few moments later Dr. Atha came to me in the hallway and said that Raider’s neck was broken, along with a condition called DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) which is brought on by trauma and that he was not going to make it. I lost it; I fell down in the floor and balled. Raider is a solid muscle, big built 80-pound dog and some force had to be used to do this. I told Dr. Atha I did not want Raider to suffer any more, as I can hear him in the room crying in pain as he continued to get worse. I went into the room and held Raider while I was crying saying my goodbyes. I then left the room and Dr. Atha and my dad put Raider down.

This situation and the behavior exhibited by the animal control officers is in no way acceptable or necessary. I am convinced that the trauma suffered by Raider while in the possession of animal control that I lost my best friend and companion at the hands of the officers. By the way they expressed their behavior and attitude about my dog in no way do I think this was an accident. This is unacceptable behavior and unnecessary use of force for any animal. I believe that as soon as the officers saw that Raider was a Pit Bull they immediately had the mindset and perception that he was dangerous, therefore approached him with the wrong attitude and demeanor. I believe they automatically treated him with discrimination and in an unfair way.

There are no words to explain or express the great sadness and anger I have in not only loosing my beloved best friend, but the fact that I lost him by the unreasonable acts by the officers we trust to help our animals and keep them safe. There is no excuse for this kind of inhumane behavior towards Raider or any animal for that matter. I will not allow this injustice caused by animal control officers go unheard. Not only is this behavior uncalled for it is extremely unacceptable. There is no reason a dog as sweet and loving as Raider to have to go through such abuse and misconduct by those who are supposed to help the animals in this community. This situation needs to be shared and made aware to all people and especially those that own pets because this could happen to them. I want the public to be aware of the abuse and inhumane behavior exhibited by the officers of Amarillo Animal Control.

There are no actions or words that can help heal the hurt and pain I have experienced from losing Raider. He was just as much family to me as a human being and I am not going to let this type of behavior go unnoticed and without punishment. This extreme action and foolish behavior needs to be heard by everyone so people can see the abusive behavior exhibited by the officers that are supposed to an outreach for animals that need help. Abuse on animals is inexcusable and should not be taken lightly. There is nothing that is going to bring my sweet baby Raider back but finding justice and making people be held accountable for their actions will bring closure to my mind. I need to know that these people will not be able to get away with this kind of unacceptable behavior. I will find justice in one way or another for Raider. It makes me both sad and angry thinking of other owners who may have had also a loved one suffer at the hands of officers who cannot control their behavior."

Now, again, I hear so many stories about animals being abused by animal control, but in most cases when I do some digging, I find that the officer that handled the situation wasn't doing anything wrong and was facing a violent dog.  But what about Raider?  We all think our animals are the sweetest things, but to strangers are they?

The reason I'm sharing this story is because of the sincerity in Ashley's emails to me.  I don't think she's out to get someone fired, she is out to raise awareness and wanting others to step up.

The fact is, if our animal control officers are going overboard, something does need to be done.  And just to kind of preface on this, I've faced dogs that were simply scared and needed help and gotten bit.  For example, on Christmas Eve, my wife and I saw a dog on I-40 literally about to get ran over or cause a huge accident.  So I hit the exit, kind of side-swiped a car trying to get in the u-turn lane, and when I got back to where the dog was on the highway, I got out of my car to get the dog.  The dog was definitely scared, I mean there were huge vehicles flying by the dog and then there was this stranger, me, walking up to it in a very fast manner.  I wrapped my arms around the dog to pick it up and it freaking bit me.  I didn't let go though, I held on tight, threw it in my car, and took it home with me.  Then I posted on Facebook and Craigslist and the owner was reunited with their dog.  And the look on their faces, the relief, priceless!  They even gave me $100!  In my mind, I was saving a life, not catching a dog.

Maybe that's the approach some of the animal control officers need to take, approach the situation not as "I'm out to catch a dog", but more of "I'm out to save a dog so it can be reunited with it's owner".

So, after all this, and I know it was a lot, I want your opinion!  We've all dealt with animal control, we've all seen the dog catchers in action, so what do YOU think?

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