No Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Owner or “Rescuers” of San Antonio Dogs

Last week, authorities seized 19 dogs from a San Antonio home that apparently had such an offensive odor, a reporter outside the yard was nearly gagging from the smell.  The dogs were reportedly malnourished and unsocialized.  Vincent Medley, assistant director at Animal Care Services, told the local news:

“They generally have not been walked on a leash.  Just given by their reaction at all once something is around there [sic] neck, they become very fractious. They’re not used to being around strangers.”

I am not an expert but reading that description of the dogs makes me think that the last thing I would want to do is to have a bunch of strangers approach them and put things around their necks.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the trained professionals did.  The video of the dogs being dragged and manhandled while they are terrified out of their minds is difficult to watch.  One dog, pinned to the ground with a chokepole, appears to have been injured by the device and is bleeding.  Another dog on a chokepole is shown being hand fed some sort of glop.  Yes, I said hand fed and chokepole in the same sentence.  So it’s ok to stick your fingers in their mouths but apparently they posed too much of a threat to do anything other than drag and otherwise injure them to get them off the property.

The dogs reportedly lived in a 7 by 7 foot room where they ate and relieved themselves.  The owner, Michael Hernandez, was arrested on unrelated warrants but animal cruelty charges may be filed.

If a judge, at a hearing in the next 10 days, determines Hernandez was cruel in his treatment of the animals, the man will have 30 days to appeal.

ACS is prepared to care for the animals for 40 days.

The pound is asking for potential foster homes to visit its website.  I took a look and didn’t see any pleas for the seized dogs but did find this page about fostering for ACS in general.  I imagine loads of people from the community will be lining up to foster these dogs after seeing the trained animal handlers on the news apparently so fearful they felt obligated to abuse the dogs.

(Thank you Arlene for alerting me to this story.)

Leave a comment

17 Comments

  1. Karen

     /  January 28, 2013

    Where do they find these ‘people’? I’ve worked for animal control and NEVER had to use a catchpole or abuse any of the unfortunate animals who came to my attention. There is no excuse for this sort of maltreatment. Plainly these people don’t know – or care – what they’re doing.

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  January 28, 2013

    Rampant incompetence. If only they had someone there who knew how to use the tools at hand…

    Reply
    • Karen

       /  January 28, 2013

      The most important ‘tool’ in that job is knowledge, closely followed by patience, treats and understanding. No animal needs to be afraid or intractable if they’re being approached by a quiet and gentle human. Catchpoles are – or should be – a method of absolute last resort.

      Reply
      • mikken

         /  January 28, 2013

        Agreed, Karen. But I think the first tool should be compassion. These animals are victims, first and foremost. If whoever was leading the team stepped up and made that clear, things would be different. Instead, you’ve got a bunch of yahoos cowboying around the place frightening and hurting the dogs.

  3. michelle adams

     /  January 28, 2013

    Why are there no animal “cruelty” charges made against the er, um, “rescuers” of these dogs? That is the question everyone should be asking. Why is the State and the employees and appointees of the State the ONLY ones who are EVER ALLOWED to commit animal “abuse” and get a pass on it?

    Reply
  4. Arlene

     /  January 28, 2013

    I see bloody mouths on two of those dogs. There is no excuse for the way these poor dogs were handled by the “rescuers”. Dragging dogs on their sides? Trying to stuff food into the mouths of dogs who have muzzles on them? WTH is wrong with these guys?

    There needs to be a large dose of empathy! Realizing that these poor dogs have had a horrific life and now they make things worse for them? They could just have easily been kind and gentle and gotten entirely different results from the scared dogs.

    This entire video is sickening! The public needs to demand more from this animal control. They need to be fired. Apparently they don’t give a hoot about the dogs welfare.

    Reply
    • It’s shocking to me that this is how they treated the dogs *while they knew cameras were rolling*. I dread to think how they treat them when they think no one is watching. And from a practical standpoint, I bet there are ZERO people in the community seeing a dog doing alligator rolls on the end of a steel pole with a trained animal handler at the other end who are thinking, “We should bring one of these dogs home and make him a member of our family.”

      Reply
      • dawn fant

         /  February 9, 2013

        Acs always comes out if the cameras are rolling and are proud of themselves :(
        They don’t allow fostering if animal cruelty charges are pending, and the dogs will likely be much less socialized and in worse condition by the time they are released for rescue or adoption, if they ever are–many get put down as “unadoptable” instead.
        We had a hold on some confiscated dogs that had been abandoned–they were very cute and friendly but desperately dirty and matted. Because the owner that abandoned them was charged, it was several months until we were allowed to take them. The case was heard, the owner was allowed to choose which ones he’d keep–despite having moved away and left them and some of them starving to death–and when we went to pick ours up they were semi feral. Acs used catch poles to put them in carriers for us, and although they had spayed them, they hadn’t even shaved off the obviously painful matts, and these were less than 20 lb dogs (think long haired doxie type mixes). I pray for the safety of the dogs they let him keep; I don’t think they were even sterilized…

    • The problem is the community does not care.

      Reply
  5. CarolG.

     /  January 28, 2013

    If they ‘HAD’ to use catch poles in the house, they could have also separated them from the other dogs, quickly muzzled them or put them in crates and carried them out of the house.

    Reply
  6. Of course, we all know this happens way too often. Animal cruelty is rampant in the entire country; the entire world. I think one of the worse I have ever seen was this past Sunday. While watching Animal Planet, a vet had a puppy that had been tied to a chain, with no food or water. The puppy had been there so long, it could not stand or open its eyes or move its head. The worst part? It was being eaten alive by maggots from injuries he had. I had to turn the channel. I cannot get that image out of my mind. The vet did the merciful thing and put the poor puppy out of its misery. Said it is absolutely the worst case he had ever seen, and I have to agree. No animal on earth deserves that. All I know, it was somewhere in the US, but can’t remember where. If I could, I would find that person and sew their jaws shut, bound their legs, and leave them tied up in the dark forest, never to be seen or heard from again.

    Reply
  7. So what is the point of posting. The point is what will the citizens of San Antonio do about. They will do nothing.

    Reply
    • Karen

       /  January 31, 2013

      The point of posting is so that we can disseminate these awful images, start petitions, join forces with other like minded people and pelt the ratbags responsible for these abysmal acts with rotten eggs in the form of an avalanche of vociferous disapproval and demand that they get it right or go.
      We know it works when these people are under the spotlight and having to explain themselves.

      Reply
  8. America is spiritually vanquished. That is the problem.

    Reply
  9. On the other hand, I would think that people would be more likely to want to adopt a dog who had been so brutally mistreated because they would want to give the dog a chance to have a good life. Not that ACOs should abuse dogs to increase chances of adoption, it’s just that I think people would want to help get an animal away from animal control people who have abused the dog and might abuse the dog again.

    Reply

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