OKC Animal Welfare Looks At Changing Long Term Care After Public Outcry

Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 7:12 am
By: Ashley Holden

The Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Center said its evaluating its long-term animal care after a local woman accused them of neglecting her dog, Duke.

Rebecca Horsley said her dog should not have been brought to the center and when her two year old Italian Mastiff was returned, she was so shocked by his appearance that she broke down.
"I mean literally the first words out of my mouth was he's so skinny," said Horsley.
Duke was impounded after his owner said he got out of the house. Horsley said it all happened when her daughter went to check the mail. 
"He approached a woman and her animal," insisted Horsley. "He did not bite he did not attack."
But she said a complaint was filed and Duke ended up at the welfare center. 
"I asked if I was allowed to see him and I was told no," said Horsley.
She said she tried to trust the system, but Duke ended up being declared a menacing animal. He now has to be registered with the city and Horsley has to pay a fine each year. 
But what was more disappointing was the condition she found Duke in. 
"The spots on his face and his legs were bleeding," said Horsley. 
She also said he was returned with worms, ulcers, weighed dozens of pounds less and had to be neutered.
"How he came out was completely unacceptable, and if there are other animals sitting in there like that's completely unacceptable, " said Horsley. 
"We are just as concerned about it as anyone is in the public and the owner," said OKC Animal Welfare Supt. Jon Gary.
Gary said the dogs that are impounded for being dangerous or menacing are harder to care for. Those that are being held for biting someone, part of a dangerous or menacing case or cruelty to animals are kept in quarantine.
News 9 did ask to see where Duke stayed during his 85 day stay at the center. The quarantine area was older than the kennels at the front but they were not too different. News 9 wasn't allowed to film in the specific area because Gary said the dogs are considered evidence. 
"Is there something we can do to change some of those dogs and keep them healthy," said Gary.  
The topic was the center of a managers meeting on Monday, March 2. Some of the possible changes staff is considering include helping owners visit, weekly check ins, changing to a new food and providing toys.
"What happened was obviously unfortunate and that's not who we are," said Gary.
The center said Horsely can appeal the decision about Duke, but her owner said she what her next steps will be.