A hospital in South Bend, Indiana is making it clear that dogs and cats are not welcome at the lawless town’s emergency animal hospital.
The South Bend Animal Care and Control Center, which is in a former coal mine, is forcing animals into its emergency animal ward after a police officer shot and killed an elderly woman last week.
The woman, who is white and had no visible injuries, was killed after an officer responded to a domestic violence call in the town.
The incident was captured on video and has gone viral.
The city is now requiring dogs and other animals to stay at the emergency animal shelter in the city’s industrial park, a move that has drawn widespread condemnation.
In a statement, the center said that it has “a number of dogs and a number of cats, both housed and on the street.”
“Unfortunately, this situation is not conducive to the care and well-being of animals, and we cannot continue to house and transport these animals,” the statement reads.
“In the event that we do not manage to house animals at this facility, we will consider euthanizing these animals and take appropriate steps to take the animals to the appropriate facility.”
Animal rights advocates say the decision by the South Bend animal care center to euthanize animals in the emergency ward violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The group has called for the emergency shelter to be closed down.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate group, has called on South Bend to shutter the animal shelter, saying the center is a “dangerous” venue for dogs.
“While it’s hard to argue with the harm inflicted on animals by this facility—especially when you’re not allowed to take care of them in your own home—it’s still shocking to see someone who cares for animals so little given the risk of euthanasia,” SPLC senior attorney Andrew Seidel said in a statement.
South Bend is located in Indiana’s fourth-largest city, with a population of about 14,000 people.
The state has seen a surge in the number of dog attacks in recent years, but that has been largely due to a rising number of people who use pet ownership as a means of self-defense.
In June, South Bend Mayor Jim Tate said he wanted to “bring the dog problem to a close” by building a dog-friendly community.