TUCSON â As Pima Animal Care Center is saving a record number of animals, some people wonder if it is a threat to public safety.
Marilyn Worth was walking her dog, Mia, when it was attacked by a PACC foster. She had to put Mia down.
âI really do want PACC to reconsider how they evaluate dogs just for safety,â Worth said.
Alma Esparza adopted a dog named Kinks from PACC.
âOur dog, Lola, he would snap at her,â Esparza said. âHe wouldn’t make a sound or nothing. He would just snap at her. And twice my granddaughter had to get out of the way.â
Esparza decided to take Kinks back to PACC.
âHe has been in and out of the shelter a few times due to him showing aggression towards other people in the home and towards resident dogs,â according to the page. âUnfortunately Kinks is becoming more and more reactive in the shelter and is not able to be safely handled without equipment (drag lines, covers, etc).”
Esparza said she was not warned about Kinksâ behavior history.
âThey don’t need to be releasing these kind of dogs out to the public,â Esparza said.
The News Four Tucson Investigators received a tip about a dog named Bucca and sent a public records request. Bucca was sent out to 5 different homes, despiteÂ notes about aggression toward people and other animals.
Buccaâs first home reported, âwhen went on walks did show aggression – barking, snarling, lunging at other dogs” and “very fearful of men – barks, growls, snapped and attempted to bite.”
A note on Buccaâs second home indicated, âhas gone after both dogs in the foster’s children’s homes does not do well with grandchildren – has bitten 4 of them.”
Kristen Auerbach is the Director of PACC.
âWe look at whether itâs just a minor bite, causing a minor puncture wound, or if it broke skin,â Auerbach said. âIf a bite didn’t break skin, it’s not legally considered a bite.â
Bucca returned from her 4th home on April 3. The next note was 9 days later, which said, âNo clinical sign of rabies, ok to release from quarantine per vet.”
The News 4 Tucson Investigators sent an email asking Auerbach to clarify Buccaâs history. The email included the questions, âWhy was Bucca surrendered on April 3?” and âWhy was she in quarantine and monitored for rabies?” Auerbach replied that day and agreed to an interview about 4 business days later.
When asked why Bucca was returned on April 3, Auerbach said, âI don’t know what you are referring to. We deal with 10,000 dogs here.â
It is still not clear why Bucca was put in rabies quarantine.
Auerbach said PACC has drastically reduced the number of animals euthanized over the past 6 years.
âWe euthanized any animal, whether it was for space or it looked at us the wrong way in the kennel,â Auerbach said, âor didn’t come to the front of the kennel. And times have changed.â
Auerbach said PACC has a team of specialists that evaluates dogs.
âSometimes we only have to euthanize 5 a month for behavioral reasons or for a history of aggression,â Auerbach said, âand sometimes it’s 5 a week. It really just depends.â
Auerbach said giving animals more opportunities is progress.
âSome people want to help those animals,â Auerbach said, âand we give them a chance.â
Pima County spokesman Mark Evans said Bucca, Kinks and the dog that killed Marilyn Worthâs dog all had positive outcomes. They are living in loving homes without incident.