Deadly Fights at Animal Shelter Prompt Call for Criminal Investigation

PETA Provides Whistleblower Photos Showing How Pressure to Become ‘No-Kill’ Is Causing Severe Crowding, Neglect, and Terrible Suffering

For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2019

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7282

El Paso, Texas

PETA has sent an urgent letter calling on the El Paso Police Department to investigate whistleblower reports that animals have sustained life-threatening injuries and are dying unassisted in severely crowded conditions at the El Paso Animal Services Center. PETA first appealed to the police department about inhumane conditions at the city shelter in August.

Texas law prohibits causing animals “unjustifiable pain or suffering”—and new information, including photographs and shelter documents, reveal that in recent weeks, severe crowding and caging incompatible dogs together led to fighting and subsequent injuries so severe that some dogs had to be euthanized. The ear and leg of one dog were partially eaten by dogs with whom she was confined, and a Chihuahua died unassisted in a cage. In August, PETA received whistleblower reports that dogs were being found unresponsive or dead in their kennels after having been mauled by other dogs—sometimes within hours of arriving at the facility.

A news report from earlier this year revealed that at least four dogs died during extremely low temperatures after they had been moved to outdoor kennels and a barn, which were built by the city’s Animal Services in an admitted attempt to become “no-kill.” A whistleblower told PETA that dogs too aggressive to interact safely with staff or to be released to the public were apparently housed for months—with no expectation of adoption—in order to avoid euthanasia.

“It is not ‘no kill’ but ‘slow kill’ when dogs are so stressed and crowded that they maul each other to death,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “As these heartbreaking incidents show, ‘life at any cost’ policies are cruel and cause terrible suffering and even more death.”

PETA has urged the El Paso City Council to stop placing a higher value on “save rates” than on the health and safety of animals—and to save animals’ lives by enforcing the city’s spay/neuter law and prohibiting the unattended chaining and tethering of dogs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit


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