One dog beaten by CenterPoint Energy contractor dies


KINGWOOD, Texas – One of the dogs an energy company's contract worker beat with a wrench has died, according to the dog's owner. The family is very upset over the ordeal.

The contract worker has been fired and CenterPoint Energy has agreed to pay the veterinary bills for a family’s dogs after the contractor was accused of beating the animals with a wrench.

The homeowner, Mike Willcox, said a CenterPoint Energy worker entered his back yard unannounced around 9:45 a.m. March 23 and caught the attention of his two Weimaraners. When the dogs, Flash and Shutter, approached the contractor, the surveillance video shows him swinging an object at the animals and hitting them in the faces.


CenterPoint released a statement on April 26 after agreeing to pay the vet bills, that read in part:

“CenterPoint Energy has continued to investigate the events involving one of our contractor's employees and a customer's dogs. We are sorry this event occurred.
First, we have agreed to cover veterinary bills related to this incident. Second, we have thoroughly reviewed our expectations with the contractor and agreed that the technician involved in this incident will no longer work on any CenterPoint Energy matters.
We value our customers' trust. We intend to maintain that trust that by reviewing our processes, procedures, and requirements related to engaging contractors. We will revisit our practices around entering customer property, particularly in disconnection situations and when encountering pets. And we will conduct appropriate training to ensure that those activities occur safely.
We are immensely proud of our thousands of employees and contract workers, many of whom face hazards every day on the job, sometimes encountering dangerous animals and customers. They perform thousands of work orders each year, without incident.
In everything we do, we strive to be a good corporate citizen and member of the communities in which we live and work. The safety of our customers, employees, and contractors is our number one commitment.”

The entire statement can be found on CenterPoint's website.

The family filed a complaint back in March.

"Honestly, I'm really upset [at] the fact he stepped into our back yard like that and he was swinging to kill my family pets," Willcox said. "It just made me wonder how many other times that guy's done that."

Willcox said he, his wife and their 4-year-old son watched the attack from a window about 5 feet away. According to CenterPoint Energy, the worker seen in the video is not an employee of the company but a contract worker.

Willcox said Flash suffered a concussion, a cut below the eye and a lost tooth. According to the family, Shutter must undergo surgery for its injuries.

The family said its dogs are "non-aggressive" and have never bitten anyone. The Willcoxes hopes viewers will share the link to the video. Willcox said he hopes increased awareness of the situation will encourage the company to change its policy regarding how workers handle pets.