Hundreds of people are calling for change of leadership within the Killeen Animal Shelter.

This comes after a controversial incident last week where the shelter euthanized a 11 cats hours after they were rescued from a fire.

Killeen Police said the cats were infected with bed bugs.

Before the cats were euthanized, a local pest control was contacted and advised that a flea dip, Permethrin, would kill the bed bugs, police said. The pest control company also advised if the shelter were to become infested, it would have to be evacuated and treated.

A local vet veterinarian was also contacted, who advised that Permethrin would be harmful to the cats and was not an option for treatment, according to a Killeen PD press release.

Killeen Police said the decision to euthanize the eleven cats by IV was made to protect the entire population of the shelter.

Kathy Kwieran is a long-time animal advocate in the area. She said there have been several issues at the shelter over the years and this latest case involving the euthanized cats was the last straw. She is now taking to social media to collect signatures demanding change at the animal shelter.

All this happening after police said animal services rescued eight cats from a fire at a Killeen apartment complex last week. Staff said the cats were insect infected and had bed bugs before they were put down. Kwieran claimed she offered to take the cats but staff told her she was 45 minutes too late. She created a petition calling for new leadership at the shelter as well as transparency and accountability among other things. Kwieran hopes speaking out now will prevent similar situations in the future.

“Well I was appalled I couldn’t believe that this lady just lost her home, all her possessions, had not where to go and they come and help out by taking the cats and killing them,” Kwieran said. “This was like the straw that broke the camel’s back, I couldn’t take it anymore we need to see change.”

So far, the petition has over 400 supporters. Kathy hopes to gather 5,000 signatures over the next few weeks and then deliver the petition to the Killeen City Council.

Channel 6 reached out to a spokesperson for the Animal Shelter several times Monday and did not hear back.

Link to the petition: