KPD Reviews Feline Euthanasia Incident

Upon review, the police department found the following.

Killeen Animal Control Officers were called at approximately 12:38 p.m., to assist a tenant during the evacuation of an apartment complex fire at the Village West Apartments located at 424 Gilmer Street, on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.  Upon completion of the call, Animal Services Unit staff met with Killeen Firefighters who advised of another apartment containing two dogs and several cats.  ASU staff inquired about the immediate safety of the cats and was advised that there was no smoke or fire danger in that apartment.  They requested cat carriers to the scene.

Later, KFD removed the cats and advised the apartment was infested with insects.  The eleven cats appeared to have health issues with discharge coming from their eyes and nose.  Due to a miscommunication, it was erroneously reported that the incident involved eight cats; however upon review, the apartment had contained eleven cats.  ASU employees offered the owner the use of the cat carriers to transport her animals.  She was unable to place them anywhere and agreed to surrender (transfer of ownership) them to animal services.

Animal services office personnel were notified to try and find local rescue groups to relocate current cats in the isolation room, which had reached its capacity, in order to accommodate these cats.  Office staff managed to make contact with three groups, one of which was able to respond that evening and take two cats from the shelter; a second group was unable to respond until the following day.

The owner confirmed that the cats had been ill for some time and her residence was infected with bed bugs.  ASU staff noticed bed bugs in the animal cages and in the front seat of the truck where two cats had been placed to cool them down.   Although it is not confirmed that cats can be infested with bed bugs in the same manner as fleas, it is apparent that they had carried the bed bugs to the truck from the apartment.

Before transporting the cats, a local pest control was contacted and advised that a flea dip, Permethrin, would kill the bed bugs and if the shelter were to become infested, it would have to be evacuated and treated.  A local veterinarian was contacted, who advised that Permethrin would be harmful to the cats and was not an option for treatment.

A shelter supervisor was briefed and also made contact with pest control and verified the risk to the shelter.  The decision to euthanize the eleven cats by IV was made to protect the entire population of the shelter.

Interim Chief Margaret Young conducted a review of this incident and said, “I would like to apologize on behalf of the department for the miscommunication in reference to the number of cats involved in this incident.”

Ofelia Miramontez
Public Affairs
Killeen Police Department

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