We got a message about a dog being trapped inside a large abandoned lot in Northeast El Paso. This area was known as Northpark Mall and was demolished several years ago once the city of El Paso purchased the property. It is estimated to be 11 acres and it is completely fenced in. I arrived at the location and saw the dog for myself. At 8:30 pm I contacted Animal Services to inform them of the situation. They said they would dispatch an Animal Services Officer to my location. As I waited I spoke to some employees from KFC and Walgreens. They told me the dog had been in there for several weeks or months. They had called Animal Services but were told there was nothing they could do. One officer told a KFC employee that he wasn’t going to go run after a dog in that lot. He would never catch it. A customer claimed to have called Animal Services several times over the past weeks and twice the officer arrived but said he didn’t have permission to enter the property.
Upon hearing this I decided I needed to go above some heads. I contacted newly re-elected City Council Representative for this district Carl Robinson. I left messages for him. I waited until 1:30 am and no Animal Control Officers responded to my call.
I managed to speak to Rep. Carl Robinson and he got me in contact with Sun Metro, who manages that property. I was given access to the property and set up a humane trap. I posted signs in that area and informed the Sun Metro Security Guards, the Northeast Regional Command (Police Dept.), and the local businesses that I had permission to go in a rescue the dog, but I needed them to help by no longer feeding the dog.
The following day I received a message from a volunteer that was keeping an eye on the area and the dog. I was told that Animal Services had gone into the property and set up a trap not too far from mine. The volunteer also mentioned that he saw the Animal Services officers take down my signs and enter my trap to remove something.
The next day I went to replace the signs and contacted an Animal Services supervisor. He explained that the officers should not have taken my signs down, but also said an officer found their bowls in my trap. I posted a message on Facebook to inform people not to enter the property and not to tamper with the Animal Services trap. The next day I entered the property to check and bait my trap. Upon exiting the property I was stopped by an Animal Services officer and asked for I.D. I complied. She questioned me about what I was doing in the property and I explained that I had permission by Sun Metro to rescue the dog. I explained I was checking on my trap. She accused me of tampering with the Animal Services trap and after a brief stalemate I was allowed to go on my way.
We later found out what was setting off both our traps. There was tampering, but it was from a cat.
A few night later Animal Services dispatched three trucks and they pursued the dog in 98 degree heat. After approximately 15 minutes of chasing her they caught her. Concerned for the dog’s safety I asked the Animal Services workers if they caught her. They refused to speak with me. I asked for their names, they refused to tell me. I saw one Animal Services officer speaking with a police officer at the other end of the empty lot so I began to walk toward them. I explained the to the officer what was going on and he stated he was aware because he had been briefed at the Police Station. I told him that the officers refused to tell me if they caught the dog and refused to identify themselves. He told me they should have identified themselves and that they did capture the dog.
The next day the dog, now named Wren, was on the Animal Services offices. I went first thing in the morning to see her. She was okay. Scared, but no injuries. Enchanted Pass, a local animal rescue shelter offered to have Wren transferred to them by the city. A few days later once Wren was cleared by the veterinarian, Wren was released to Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue and they turned her over to me. She is now vaccinated, microchipped, and I am working with her to learn some basic obedience commands.
Wren was deemed un-adoptable due to aggression and anxiety.
I decided to keep her permanently* and she is living a good life.
*Charlie Moreno, CPDT-KA (Certified Dog Trainer)