Merced Police Change Controversial Stray Animal Policy

{}The Merced Police Department is changing how it deals with severely injured animals. KMPH first reported that the department was shooting and killing severely injured dogs and cats at the department's shooting range. However, the department announced that it is changing its policy.

Starting Tuesday whenever an officer comes across a severely injured animal they will have to call a veterinarian. The veterinarian will euthanize the dog or cat with an injection.

"I think it's much better, I think it needs a vet evaluation," says Andrea Lepe who supports the policy change.

The Merced Police Department was not doing anything illegal. California law allows the old policy and says, "Any officer may, with the approval of his or her immediate superior, humanely destroy any abandoned animal in the field in any case where the animal is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not available and it would be more humane to dispose of the animal."

Whenever an officer calls for a veterinarian they will have to wait with the animal until the veterinarian arrives. For now the officer will call the closest veterinarian, but the police department would eventually like a formal agreement with a veterinarian.