IDABEL, Okla. (KTEN)– For the second time in a month, protesters marched outside of Idabel City Hall Tuesday night. This time, they brought their own pets and stood with people from different cities who came to support the protest.
“To support that dog and get something done about that situation,” said one protester who came all the way from Arkansas.
The push for a leadership change at the city’s pound was sparked by a graphic video – of one dog in the shelter eating the carcass of another – that surfaced weeks ago. A group called “Justice for Aurora” formed after the video came out; Aurora is the name of the deceased dog in the video.
“Someone asked me how many kids I have, and I tell them I have three. And this is one of them right here,” one protester said as they gestured to their pup.
“Do the right thing! Do the right thing!”
Protesters say the ‘right thing’ is for the city to replace current Animal Control Officer Cecil Richards.
“He has no empathy whatsoever. No sympathy for those animals.”
“He does not do his job. He does not love animals because there have been too many that have died in his hands.”
The group’s attorney released a statement to KTEN saying, “We are very discouraged and saddened by the acts of Cecil Richards.” The attorney then listed several accusations of animal cruelty against Richards, such as allegedly stealing family pets for his own financial gain.
“What has our town come to? For someone to take a dog, tell the owner that it was hit by a car when it was sold.”
Protesters say they’re looking at Idabel Police because they believe officers are covering up what’s really going on. As of this week, citizens are no longer allowed near the pound.
“If you want to look at the pound, that’s the procedure for it, because that property is off-limits unless there’s someone with you.”
The city did not want to comment, but others in the community did.
“Folks may have their priorities wrong. And we really think these folks did.”
“Justice for Aurora” says they will continue protesting until there is a change. The Tulsa Humane Society has already removed some animals from the shelter, but protesters say that’s not enough.