Sugar Land animal shelter euthanized nearly 40 animals without authorization

The Sugar Land animal shelter is under investigation after several staff members allegedly performed unauthorized euthanizations.

According to the city, since April, there have been at least 38 unauthorized euthanizations of dogs and cats at Sugar Land Animal Services. Many departments are working together to perform an extensive investigation to understand what happened.

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Employees who participated in the deaths of these animals said they were aggressive or had a medical diagnosis. However, according to city protocols and the Animal Services Division Manual of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), a veterinarian must complete an evaluation to will determine if euthanization is medically necessary.

The procedure has to be under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. If an animal displays behavior issues, it must be discussed with a certified animal behaviorist, who will give a recommendation to staff.


Reports stated the staff did not follow procedures and ignored instructions. Employees disobeyed direct orders and the Animal Services Division Manual of SOP. Disciplinary actions were immediately taken, and the city says they will keep working to implement training and protocols to avoid this from happening again.

Five of the Animal Services employees were fired and the shelter manager resigned. The city said it will temporarily reassign employees from other offices and departments throughout Sugar Land to support the remaining Animal Services staff until new employees are hired. The shelter's services are not expected to change at this time.

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For transparency, the citizen Animal Advisory Board appointed by City Council was briefed after the city was aware of the inappropriate actions of the shelter.