February 26, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

Marlin mayor responds to dog deaths and allegations of neglect

MARLIN, TEXAS — Multiple dead dogs and allegations of animal neglect at Marlin’s city run animal shelter.

Michelle and Robert Ward told 25 News when they saw the allegations of animal neglect at the shelter, they knew they had to act.

The city asked them to help with some of the operations at the shelter.

It was something unplanned and I spoke with them just after the announcement.

25 News was not allowed to be part of a meeting between City of Marlin Police Chief James Hommel and City of Marlin coffee shop owners and pet owners Michelle and Robert Ward Friday morning.

This is at the request of Chief Hommel himself.

However the couple left the hour long meeting with optimism and spoke to me exclusively.

They told me they are now the liaisons between the animal shelter and the community.

“The city does have to remain in charge of the shelter however we will be in charge of donations, how they’re given out to them and we will be monitoring as much as we possibly can.”

“They’re not allowed to pick up any dogs until we fix the facility.”

“He’s promised us that this isn’t just talk and that we can come in and check in with him at anytime” the couple said.

The Wards are big dog lovers and have even designed their coffee shop around their love for pups.

They are now calling the community to help while the shelter is getting cleaned up and other plans worked out.

The Wards say that the outsourced companies are cleaning up the shelter to prevent the spread of the canine parvovirus for when dogs are able to return to the shelter.

They say Chief Hommel is open to moving the dogs inside the shelter.

“There’s zero dogs (at the shelter) right now and we can’t take any in, he can’t take any in so that’s our biggest concern.”

We’ve called and multiply people have called other shelters and everybody’s pretty full right now, no one can take in dogs the people who could did and that’s why they got down to zero,” they said.

The couple believes around two dozen dogs are wondering the streets in Marlin and are asking the community to donate blankets to their shop to help those pups.

“They do come to us because we do feed them. We’re told not too but we continue to do it” Robert said.

“F anybody out there has any idea please reach out to us at Trigger Bear. We will do anything it takes.”

The Falls County Sheriff’s Office and Falls County District Attorney’s Office are looking into the situation at the shelter.

Neither could be reached for comment.

Mayor Susan Byrd was not available at City Hall this morning for comment.

However she did send out a press release late Friday afternoon.

The statement can be read in full below:

“First, let me say how heartbroken I am concerning the unacceptable situation at the Marlin Animal Shelter and my prayers go out to the animals, their owners and everyone else affected by this tragedy. I would like to extend a thank you to Dr Rich, our local veterinarian, for volunteering her time to examine the dogs in the facility and providing immediate care. In addition, I would like to thank Penny Stone Bishop & Michele Ann, for their time and dedication in getting the dogs rehomed. And our special thanks to all the shelters and rescuers who stepped up & have been volunteering timeless hours to take in animals and who continue to provide them with much-needed care.

I want to assure you the City of Marlin takes this situation very seriously and, as a proponent for dog rescues, we are all working to cooperate with the investigation by the Falls County Sheriff’s Office. Thank you to Joe Lopez, who is personally heading up the independent investigation. Upon completion of the independent investigation by the FCSO, the City of Marlin will do our best to ensure the responsible parties are held accountable.
The City’s immediate actions are to identify the issues and implement solutions to those issues. Ongoing investigations prohibit me from commenting any further.

However, my main objective today is to inform the citizens of Marlin that we are taking this seriously and we will be executing updated policies and procedures to prevent this from happening in the future.

Lastly, I was recently informed of possible planned protests against the City this
weekend. While I admire and support the right to protest, and most certainly look forward to a positive result of any possible protest, (this entire situation has my heart broken) as the head of the Municipality of the City of Marlin I cannot engage in a protest against the city no matter what my personal feelings are.

Thank you for your time and attention.”

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