An incident occurred at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter yesterday that resulted in the death of a dog. On Thursday, July 24, an employee accidentally left a kennel gate open, allowing multiple dogs to have direct contact with each other, including Kitti, a 12-year-old boxer/pit bull/terrier mix. Two of the loose dogs engaged in a fight with Kitti, resulting in her death.
Kitti had been in the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter since June 12, 2014, following an incident during which she attacked another dog and that dog died. Kitti was kept in a separate area of the kennel where she did not have regular contact with other animals. On July 1, a Dangerous Dog hearing was held, and, after hearing all of the testimony, a hearing officer found Kitti to be a designated “dangerous dog.” Any dog declared to be a dangerous dog requires the animal be humanely destroyed; Kitti remained in our kennel awaiting a potential appeal of this finding by the dog’s owner.
The entire agency is extremely concerned about the incident and is taking immediate steps to review the procedures in place to ensure it cannot happen again. We take very seriously the need to protect the animals in our care and know that while this was a tragic mistake, it was an unacceptable death of an animal in our care. Once a complete set of facts is known about what precisely occurred, the appropriate personnel actions will be taken, if required. The employee involved recognizes the error and is extremely upset about what took place. We extend deep sorrow to Kitti’s owners.
Dr. Takashi Wada is director of Santa Barbara Public Health.