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Southeast Texas animal lovers heartbroken to learn malnourished dog from viral post was put down

"It just wasn't feasible to let him live like that.”

BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texas animal lovers are celebrating a major win but also grieving a heartbreaking loss.

It began with a case of suspected animal abuse. A post showing an extremely emaciated dachshund named Clyde went viral on social media

The response to the post from Southeast Texas animal lovers was quick, and a petition was started. Clyde and two other dogs were removed from a home in the 4000 block Sullivan Street, according to a Beaumont Animal Care release. 

Beaumont Animal Care took the three animals into shelter custody. 

On Wednesday, Clyde’s owners, who also own the two other dogs, were taken to court. A civil hearing was held to decide if the dogs would be returned to them or given to the City of Beaumont.

Related: Beaumont Animal Care officers urging community to step up and report neglect

The civil hearing was emotional. Both sides brought in witnesses to testify that the dogs were better off in another home and vice versa.

Advocates for the animals were anxious as they waited for a ruling from Jefferson County Judge Ben Collins. After hearing both sides, Judge Collins granted Beaumont Animal Care custody of the two remaining dogs.

The other two are being kept in the shelter's possession until they are ready for adoption.

The win was celebrated by animal lovers, but they also learned heartbreaking news. Clyde had to be put down last week due to his illness.

“It's heartbreaking because our goal is to always save the animal, and make sure they have the best chance of survival there is,” Animal Service Officer Carol Hettinger said. “Unfortunately with his age, multiple health problems he had, the internal parasites, heart murmur, and just being so thin. He had other issues as well. It just wasn't feasible to let him live like that.”

Hettinger was there when Clyde and the other two dogs were rescued.

“The animals were living in filth and feces and there was debris all around and they were covered in fleas,” Hettinger said.

Beaumont Animal Care medical staff evaluated the dogs and noticed Clyde was in really rough shape.

“He was first presented to me because he was having trouble using the bathroom, and we noticed some abnormalities with his rear end,” Rachel Bush, vet tech, said.

Shelter officials hoped all Clyde’s medical issues could be fixed with time and care. Sadly, his issues and injuries were too severe.

“He was really having trouble to thrive, not wanting to eat, very lethargic, seemed very uncomfortable and having trouble breathing, which was in combination of the heart murmur and heart worms he had as well,” Bush said.

In court, the owners face a great deal of questions about Clyde’s condition and the condition of the two surviving dogs. Hettinger said this all could have been prevented.

“There is always an option,” Hettinger said. “We are here to help. We are not the enemy. Reach out to your local animal shelters and rescue. Ask for help”

Clyde’s owners could face serious consequences. However, animal advocates will have to provide enough evidence to convince the district attorney that a crime took place. 

“The animal cruelty case is getting the animals out of the situation, and that's what we did today,” Matthew Fortenberry, Beaumont Animal Care manager, said.

It will be up to Fortenberry to gather evidence and present that evidence to the district attorney, who will then determine if it's enough to move forward.

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