Pictured are newly-hired Shelter Assistant Dayna Wells, Bowser and Animal Control Officer Renee Sosebee pose for the camera on Bowser’s last day in Panhandle. Bowser was confiscated by the local law enforcement and placed in the care of Panhandle Animal Control Shelter. Sosebee and Wells were able to place Bowser in a Pitbull Rescue Center where he is well taken care of and loved.
In light of all the recent publicity given to the allegations of mismanagement by the Amarillo Animal Control, we thought it would be a good time to look at how the Panhandle Animal Control handles its animal control issues.
According to Renee Sosebee, Panhandle Animal Control Officer, most of the animals the local shelter deals with are those at-large (have identification) animals, those whose owners have relinquished them to the shelter, and/or strays.
She said that all animals are photographed at intake and are given a visual and physical exam, which includes looking for signs of illness by examining the eyes, nose, mouth and ears, weighing them and feeling for overall physical condition and bone structure. If an animal is in danger of death, a veterinary exam is given. Sosebee said that all animals are checked for fleas and/or ticks and that it is the Panhandle shelter’s policy to treat all animals with the approved tick and flea powder, “Ovitrol”.
If the animal passes the physical exam, it is held for 72 hours and submitted to the “Safer Test.” The “Safer Test,” developed by the American Humane Association, is a five-step test which identifies the animal’s aggression and temperament and determines whether the animal presents a danger to the person(s) handling it. Once an animal is found fit, it can then be placed for adoption or rescue.
Animal Control Officers must be certified by the State of Texas Department of State Health Services through training. Each officer is required by the state to earn 30 hours of Certified Education Units (CEUs) every three years. If an officer fails to complete their required CEUs, they are then required to recertify. Officers who euthanize animals must also be certified to do so.
The Department of State Health Services does annual inspections of animal shelters and also “surprise” inspections regularly.
Euthanasia is considered a last resort in Panhandle. Once an animal is deemed “fit”, Sosebee works diligently to place the animals for adoption and is in constant contact with rescue shelters nation-wide to enlist their help in finding homes for the worthy pets. She uses a multitude of social media outlets and local media to assist in the search of homes for the animals that are in her custody.
Since Jan. 1, 2014, a total of 44 animals have come through the local shelter. Sixteen of those animals have been saved, 25 were reclaimed and only five were euthanized because of injury, illness or overt aggression.
“Our Panhandle shelter operates by strict standards,” said Sosebee. “It is also a taxpayer shelter. Our local residents are always welcome to visit and see how our local shelter is kept and how the animals are treated here. We have an open door policy…the shelter belongs to Panhandle.”
If you have questions about the shelter, local or state enforcement and/or animal welfare, submit your questions to the Herald and Mrs. Sosebeee will address those questions for you and our readers. Questions may be submitted to the Herald via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, mail at PO Box 429, Panhandle TX 79068, or by facebook at www.facebook.com/panhandleherald.