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Investigation underway after dog chews off foot while being held at BARC animal shelter

No one noticed

HOUSTON – How could a dog being held at the city’s BARC animal shelter manage to chew off his paw without anyone noticing? Houston city officials have yet to answer that question.

Last month, Houston animal control officers seized Morgan Webre’s 85-pound German Shepherd, Koda, after the dog bit a woman while he was being walked in the 100 block of Birdsall.

“I was in shock. That’s not like Koda. It’s never happened before,” Webre said.

The victim, Melissa Nance, 41, suffered severe nerve damage and is currently suing Webre for $2 million in damages. Nance’s attorney said her recovery will be long and complicated.

“The hope is that she regains feeling in her right hand. That may never happen,” Attorney George Edwards told KPRC 2.

In the meantime city prosecutors obtained a court order to have Koda put down. The dog was seized and confined to the city’s animal shelter operated by the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, while Webre appealed the order in court.

But while in city’s custody, something inexplicable happened. Koda somehow injured his foot, and unnoticed by attendants, slowly chewed it off. When Webre learned what had happened she says she was in shock.

“I was bawling, crying. I was shaking. I couldn’t believe, it wasn’t real,” she said.

How could an animal mutilate itself that severely while confined to the city shelter without anyone noticing?

So far, city officials aren’t offering any answers.

BARC director Greg Daminanoff issued a written statement that says in part:

“BARC investigates thousand of bite cases each year, but we have never had an animal harm itself after being placed in our custody.”

Webre paid $6,500 to have her dog’s leg amputated. And she’s fighting in court to keep Koda from being euthanized. Meantime, the dog remains in custody at the BARC shelter.

“I can’t help but cry thinking nothing I can do. Tried to get out but nothing I can do about it,” Webre said.

But late Wednesday afternoon, Webre got some good news. She’s been given permission to transfer her dog from the BARC shelter to her veterinarian’s office to be housed while her case works its way through the courts.