AP Animal Control Accused of Stealing Veteran’s Dog

This past evening a video was released falsely accusing a former AP animal control officer (ACO) of stealing a military veteran’s dog and refusing to return it. The City employee accused was not employed by the City at that time. The owner informed Followell the dog was microchipped, but the ACO who recovered the animal could not find any such chip or the chip failed after a diligent search for it was attempted. The animal was then taken into the City shelter and placed on a 10-day hold before being adopted out. Here are the details according to internal records, including a copy of that call sheet from that event.

On August 31, 2022, the dog was found at large on S. Commercial and checked for a microchip before being taken into custody by the ACO. Animal Control posted the dog online via our ACO Facebook page that day seeking an owner. The posting received 81 shares. The dog was given a name, just as we do all unidentified dogs we take into our shelter. After 13 days of having the dog in our facility, it was adopted out to a new owner. Three days after the adoption, the owner replied to the original post claiming ownership. Unfortunately, it was too late because the dog had been adopted. Here are screenshots of our posting and the owner’s communication.

Unfortunately, we do not hold animals indefinitely. Our funding source and facility are not equipped for doing so. After we make a diligent effort to find an owner and return the animal, we try to adopt the animal out to an acceptable forever home as quickly as we can. Here is our process prior to doing so, however. We evaluate the animal to see if it appears to be an owned animal or just a stray. Strays are held for 3 days before the adoption process begins. Perceived owned dogs, as was the case here, are held longer – 10 days before adoption efforts. This procedure remains outlined in the FAQ section of our animal control webpage.

Next, the owner states he called in looking for his dog. As of this time, we have reviewed all phone recordings for the several days immediately following the time the dog was picked up. We’re unable to verify such a call as having ever been received.

Again, according to internal documentation and body camera footage, this animal was taken in on 8-31-22 and immediately posted online. We typically post on Facebook and on our online shelter page. He was then adopted on 9-13-22 after no owner was found. We also microchipped the dog at the time of adoption because we either couldn’t find an existing chip or the chip failed to read. Once the dog is adopted out, that is it. We cannot later recover the dog from its newly adopted owner.

Mr. Leger: My heart goes out to you, sir. I have several fur-babies of my own. Most are adopted and they are very much family to me, just like my children. I apologize to you for losing your animal, but likewise, I am unable to verify the information you shared toward the end of the video. We have no record of AP police contacting you or threatening you with hands on their firearms. We have no record of your name in our internal systems, cannot find the phone calls you said you made at the time of our posting, and I have never met you or spoken with you, sir. However, we have found a William Kane Watkins in our system who looks very much like you. With that said, I can reach out to you or would be happy to visit with you in person, or via whatever means of your choosing. My staff and I strive to do our best to serve our community, and providing public safety excellence through close community partnerships is at the core of all our efforts here at Aransas Pass PD, especially when there are perceived wrongs or areas requiring improvement. Please reach out to me at 361-758-5224 or via my email which you can do on the form located on this page (https://police.atpx.gov/chief). I do believe that if you and me or my staff ever had any contact, it would be easily traceable through our records, as is the case with William Watkins, but not William Leger. Respectfully, Chief Blanchard.