BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - An Animal Control officer in Big Spring is under fire after police discovered dead animals in his unit.
Police tell NewsWest 9, they found several cats inside and four of them were dead.
Police discovered the unit was assigned to Animal Control Officer Michael Arista. Officials say the cats were picked up by Arista within the previous 24 hours.
Arista declined an interview but said over the phone that this whole incident was a horrible mistake. He said the Big Spring Animal Control officers are overworked with the amount of animals needing pickup versus the shortage of officers on duty.
Arista added that the cats were feral, very sick and would likely be euthanized.
Big Spring animal activists say this tragedy only highlights the need for reform.
"People like to vilify and put the blame on the Animal Control officers and it really comes down to the system as a whole and the changes that need to be made," said Alison Herm, Volunteer with Relocation Rescue.
Those who work with animals on a daily basis say Big Spring has a very large population of neglected animals, more specifically feral cats.
"Unfortunately, there are so many feral cats that if Animal Control traps them, they are so feral that there is nothing they can do for them but to euthanize them," said Herm.
Petitions are underway pushing for change in the way the city cares for animals, hoping with some reform, accidents like this one won't happen again.
"So many people are helping out and they do their best but it really is the awareness of the public. That's what's gonna help. That's what's going to make changes," Herm added.