Animal advocate speaks out on alleged neglect at shelter

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Heartbreaking images of animals who passed away or appeared neglected at the City of Laredo Animal Care Services surfaced on Tuesday and it sparked a firestorm from animal lovers who are upset about the conditions of the shelter.

The city says it will no longer intake animals and a new supervisor was appointed, but is it enough?

One group of activists say Laredo and the state of Texas need to look at the bigger picture.

Studies show that every 60 seconds an animal in the U.S. is abused or neglected.

Governor Greg Abbott just vetoed a bill known as the safe outdoor dogs act that would have made it illegal to chain up dogs and leave them without drinkable water, adequate shade or shelter.

Here at home, the city facility has been under fire for the current conditions housing animals, but some groups say Lareadoans should do more to help with this uphill battle.

“As you can see right here, we have animal cruelty case,” said Angie Ancira. “They were full of fleas and ticks.”

For the past 8 years, Angie Ancira has been diligently working to rescue as many cats and dogs around Laredo as possible, but it’s a complicated process.

“I don’t work for the shelter- I don’t get paid. I only do what I can I’m always on transport, you can see I have a full van loaded of animals that need to get from Laredo.”

Ancira and the other members of the Paws on Board rescue team search for fosters and transport up to sixty animals at a time, all on a volunteer basis.

She took a group of animals to the state capital and the Austin Pets Alive Rescue and Advocacy group.

The City of Laredo Animal Care Services came under scrutiny after photos surfaced online that suggest neglect, but advocates say the community should also share the blame.

“I don’t see no volunteers, we’re all the same. We’re doing what we can. We save as we can. The community has to secure the gates and help these poor animals- your own animals are running the streets in danger.”

Ancira and others want Laredoans to know that animals should never be discarded or taken for granted.

“Any pet in general is definitely a commitment,” said Selina Costabella, from Best Friends For Life. “They have feelings, they have needs that need to be met. You need to make sure you keep up with the health records for them. They do need their year vaccines and yes, it’s definitely a huge responsibility. You need to make sure they receive the proper nutrition as well.”

“It’s not easy, people- it’s not easy, but this is what we do. It’s very hard, but people don’t recognize what the rescuers are doing for the shelter. If we didn’t have rescue organizations, what do you think is going to happen to the animals? They are going to be euthanized and we’re against that. If you’re against that do something about it. Look for the solution, not the problem.”

KGNS did meet with one family who wanted to volunteer at the facility, but they were turned away.

Anyone hoping to volunteer or become employed by the shelter needs to go to City Hall downtown and head over to the human resources department to make an application.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the City of Laredo to fire Karina Elizondo.

Elizondo was serving as interim director of Animal Care Services, but was removed from this position earlier this week.

KGNS reached out to Elizondo for comment but we have not heard back from her.

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