Volunteers flee Valley Animal Shelter after euthanizes pit bull

POSTED: 01:02 AM PST Mar 01, 2013 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

For more than a year, Bugsy was a familiar face at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Volunteers noticed the 2-year-old pit bull mix’s file disappeared and so did he.

The dog was euthanized on Feb. 10, at the shelter, which volunteers say prides itself on being a no kill facility. Some say they’re angry it was done after business hours, on a weekend, behind closed doors and swept under the rug without an explanation.

“Many people walked Bugsy. Many people interacted with him. He meant a lot to a lot of different people,” said Brad Lengyel, a volunteer.

It created uproar.

“Unfortunately, we lost a few volunteers,” said shelter director Pat Brayer.

Volunteers and donors teamed up, pushing for Thursday’s State of the Shelter Town Hall Meeting in search of answers.

The veterinarian and president of Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, says Bugsy had behavioral and medical issues. He suffered a debilitating case of mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites.

“Being in a shelter for 16 months is a bad thing because the longer an animal is kept confined, the more behavior problems can develop. Bugsy unfortunately became aggressive,” he said.

The shelter says it owes it to the community to take precautions and asks the volunteers, upset about Bugsy's death, to come back to continue helping care for the animals.

After Thursday’s damage control, volunteers are looking forward to better communication for the sake of the shelter and its animals.

“In order to do that I encourage more people to volunteer and hold the board accountable,” said Lengyel.