Tucumcari City Manager Bobbye Rose said Friday that an investigation of an alleged violation of city animal control policy has concluded and no disciplinary action will be taken against animal control Officer Mike Martinez.
The investigation resulted from Quay County resident Betty Pettigrew’s complaint that a dog she was trying to adopt from the Tucumcari Animal Shelter was euthanized before the end of the three-day waiting period required by city animal control policy.
“Actually, the three days was right, but it wasn’t a full 72 hours,” Rose said.
Pettigrew said she contacted Martinez Nov. 29 with the intention of adopting the dog. She said the dog was placed in the city’s kennel on Nov. 26.
Rose said the dog had been held for less than 72 hours before Martinez authorized its termination, but Tucumcari Police Chief Jason Braziel determined that no malice was intended toward the animal.
“We have a vet that comes in once a week, and so we kind of had to go by his schedule that particular day,” Braziel said. “He just happened to be there a little early that day.”
Braziel said Martinez authorized the veterinarian to put down the animal “one or two hours at the most” before the 72-hour waiting period expired. He said no person ever contacted the police or animal control to claim original ownership of the dog, not including Pettigrew’s attempt to adopt the animal.
Martinez declined comment by phone Monday.
“The dog was turned over Friday, late afternoon, and put down Monday about 1400 hours (2 p.m.), and we think the dog should have been kept a little bit longer, but it was three days versus 72 hours, so we just clarified with the animal control officer that it’s going to be 72 hours and not three days. That’s what he’ll follow from now on,” Rose said.
The dog, described as a brown 1-and-1/2-year-old pitbull and labrador mix, was found by Colleen Bultmann, a Bernalillo County resident visiting family in Quay County for Thanksgiving.
Bultmann said she contacted Tucumcari Central Dispatch Nov. 24 and was told no one could pick the dog up then. She said she and her family tried to locate the owners with no success.
Bultmann said they attempted to locate the owners the following day. She said they finally turned the dog over to a Tucumcari police officer.
Bultmann said that 15 minutes after she gave up the dog, Pettigrew contacted her wanting to adopt the dog.
“They would not give the dog back to me,” Bultmann said. “I was told I needed to contact someone on Monday.”
Bultmann said she was shocked and saddened to learn the dog had been put down.
“It just was unfortunate that it was over the weekend and the holiday season. We’re going to do better to do our part and make sure that we keep them the full three days,” Rose said.