Tails from the Road: Animal Services Road Diaries

Local News

Animal Services seizes 99 animals from abusive conditions

SAN ANGELO, Texas – A typical day in the life of an Animal Services employee is not just about taking care of dogs and cats or picking up roadkill. Although those duties are a crucial part of the job, there is much more to it. Employees have to be ready for anything. This was as true as ever when they responded to a call involving almost 100 livestock animals living in abusive conditions.

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

It was mid-June 2020 when Animal Services received a call from a citizen reporting a plethora of cruelly treated animals at a residence on East 29th Street. The animals were living in mounds of junk and confined spaces with no access to food or fresh water.

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

Three hours later, and with the help of seven staff members, a total of 96 fowl (chicken and turkey), two horses and one opossum were seized from the property and taken to the animal shelter.

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

“The horses had one small paddock to share between the two of them,” said Animal Services Director Morgan Chegwidden. “The opossum was in a tiny show crate with completely green water. The chickens were in painfully small enclosures … the laying hens couldn’t even stand up and had no water dishes. It was like a chicken city – just rows on rows of enclosures with barely enough room to maneuver in between. It looked like a junkyard and had scrap metal everywhere. Some aluminum cans were even embedded in the horses’ hooves.”

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

Under City ordinance, fowl and horses are allowed inside city limits if they are kept 100 feet from any other business, institution or residence. In addition, residents may not have more than one adult male chicken or rooster on their property in city limits. Opossums are strictly prohibited to own or harbor. Moreover, the owners must meet the standards of care for all animals, including adequate food, water and care.

“We’re grateful to citizens who report cases such as these,” Chegwidden said. “No animal deserves to live in small confined spaces without access to fresh water or food. The long-term effects of such treatment can permanently limit the animal’s quality of life.”

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

Municipal Court quickly ruled against the owner, permitting all the seized animals to go to Animal Services for rehabilitation. The two horses were malnourished, and it appeared that most of the roosters were used for cock fighting, which is also illegal in San Angelo. Many of the fowl were highly aggressive, including some of the turkeys, and would need special rehabilitation.

The Animal Shelter was already at full capacity, so this situation was especially tricky. Staff installed secure enclosures behind the shelter building for the fowl. With the amount of stray and surrendered animals that are brought in, they simply were not equipped to handle this many animals; they needed to adopt them out, and quickly.

“Caring for 99 extra animals in the height of our busy season isn’t what we’re designed or staffed for,” Chegwidden said. “It’s only because of the heart of our staff and partners that we could handle this with the vast majority of animals receiving a live outcome.”

In just under two weeks, the horses were sent to a rescue, all roosters and chicken were adopted, and the turkeys were released into the wild.

Photo Courtesy: City of San Angelo. Photo taken by Brian Groves

Just another day for Animal Services.

Courtesy: City of San Angelo

More Stories for you

• CVHP News: July 14, 2020
Join Senora Scott every weekday morning at 9 a.m. for CVHP News. Watch live a…

• 90 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by the Tom Green County Health Department
San Angelo, TX — The Health Department is continuing to provide updated information regarding COVID-19 tests in San A…

• 7th COVID-19 related death confirmed by the Tom Green County Health Department
San Angelo, TX — The Tome Green County Health Department confirmed the seventh death from complications related to C…

• Quarantine and isolation release form available on San Angelo city website
SAN ANGELO, Texas – The city of San Angelo has a new form available on their health services webpage aimed at speeding…

• San Angelo woman involved in fatal crash indicted for Criminally Negligent Homicide
SAN ANGELO, Texas – According to court and jail records, Jasmine Burman, 29, was arrested in San Angelo, Texas on a…

• Military handling of Guillen murder sparks protest outside Goodfellow AFB
SAN ANGELO, Texas – The murder of 22-year-old Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood has sparked outrage across the United…

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo