Photo courtesy of City of Mesquite

Mesquite Animal Shelter

As previously reported, a viral Change.org link created by Scott Perkins of Alvarado has many Mesquite residents and other animal lovers upset over the resident death of a dog, referred to as "Buddy," that had been in the care of the Mesquite Animal Shelter.

Perkins said he is an animal advocate and upon finding out about Buddy, started a petition for the dismissal of the animal shelter manager, transparency and reform. The petition recounts the details of what Leslie Ysuhuaylas said took place.

Ysuhuaylas is a representative with The Underdog Project, a nonprofit rescue group. She said she was at the shelter because of other dogs that had been adopted from there.

While she was onsite she noticed Buddy's state and said she brought this to the staff's attention.

"I did that multiple times and they were dismissive," she said.

Ysuhuaylas said she was on a social media messenger thread where the animal shelter staff members were also a part of and reached out to them.

 "I sent them the video, and I sent them the pictures and I told them the dog was severely sick," she said.

After not getting any responses from her first post she sent it again and said she spoke with a staff who told her the vomiting must have been due to the food change.

"We told her that's obviously not the food change, that's not food that he's vomiting, and everything else was dismissed," Ysuhuaylas said.

She added that she was informed by e-mail that Buddy had been adopted. On Sunday, she responded to this e-mail and asked how Buddy was doing.

"They said he was doing better. They said he was wagging, eating, drinking, acting normal. That's not how dogs work. They're lying basically, now they're trying to cover up their tracks," she said.

"I spoke with the manager yesterday (Wednesday), Jeanne (Saadi), she even said he hadn't been drinking water on Sunday. She said the dog had not vomited because he had nothing in his stomach because he was not drinking. The staff contradicted what she said yesterday, they said he was eating, drinking, wagging his tail," she added.  

Ysuhuaylas said she found out Buddy had died because she had followed up with a volunteer at the shelter.

"Jeanne told me privately that the adopter's made a decision for the dog, which usually means they euthanized," she said.

After the death of Buddy Ysuhuaylas called into the shelter and requested to speak with the manager to see what was happening and said the manager did not want to speak with her, and that was when she made the post.

"They're completely lying about the situation. There's no transparency, there's a cover up with volunteers, networkers, rescues, trying make this literally, just go away, and it doesn't work that way. They need to know it doesn't work that way. There's nothing to protect Buddy," she said.

"The dog was in custody on-site, the contract was not done, they stated they were going to take him to get neutered, and dogs don't get neutered when they're sick. The dog was still with the city," she continued. "I don't know who messed up, it was either the staff or the manager, but someone needs to be held accountable for whoever cost the dog to die."

"It shouldn't have happened. It was very preventable," she added.

City manager Cliff Keheley issued a statement in regards to the death of one of their shelter animals:

"On behalf of the entire City of Mesquite, I wish to share my empathy for those who have showed great compassion on the news that our Mesquite Animal Shelter experienced the death of a dog in our care over the weekend. In addition to my role as the City Manager, I am also a dog owner, so I am deeply affected by this situation. I would like to share accurate and updated information on this situation so the City is fully transparent.

On Friday, the dog was adopted after just five days in our shelter. As with all adoptions, the dog remained at the shelter for all pre-adoption procedures, including neuter surgery.

On Saturday afternoon, our shelter staff began to monitor the dog. After a rescue partner captured video and photos of the dog being lethargic and having just vomited, the dog showed signs of recovery. The dog walked outside, wagged his tail, drank water, urinated and did not vomit anymore. Our staff updated the owner of the dog’s condition. The owner declined our offer to take the dog to a veterinarian for medical treatment and asked that we further monitor the dog.

On Sunday, our shelter staff continued to monitor the dog. More than 24 hours after those images of the dog were captured, the dog’s condition seemed to stabilize. The dog continued to drink water and was active. However, our staff notified the owner a second time to recommend the dog receive medical attention. On Monday morning, the dog had passed away.

Our shelter staff continuously monitored the dog, assessed its condition, consulted with the owner multiple times and provided their professional judgment on the care of the dog. It is for those reasons that I support the actions of the shelter staff. I can probably imagine this is not what some want to read. They are making daily decisions on animal health, major surgeries, broken bones and open wounds. They constantly address cases of animal cruelty and neglect. I have seen their genuine passion for all animals. I have full confidence in the shelter staff. I trust their decisions.

In this situation, a dog died in our care. We made the best possible decisions at the time. We will review our procedures and our processes, and will continue to seek ways to improve. The shelter continues to make great strides with the aid of our volunteers and rescue partners. Our collective focus is accepting all animals into the shelter and getting all animals adopted out of the shelter. The shelter’s save rate for all animals was 94% in February - the highest ever in one month.

I would ask the public to consider not forming their opinion of our shelter staff on one 22-second video and some photos captured on one Saturday afternoon, of one dog after it had just vomited. Instead, I would ask the public to consider all the actions taken by our staff in regards to the care for this specific dog and all the wonderful success stories of pet adoptions. Thousands of animals in Mesquite have made their way to a loving home due to the dedication and determination of the Mesquite Animal Shelter employees."

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