By JOE R. BOWLING, JR.
Breaking the silence to the media Tuesday night, the new president of the Laguna Madre Humane Society made a plea to the City of Port Isabel to negotiate a settlement and end the legal proceedings and the pending eviction.
Margaret Ingle attended and spoke at the commission meeting Tuesday night during the public comment section as she made an attempt to resolve the issues between LMHS and the city. She first addressed City Attorney Robert L. Collins.
“I am president of the Laguna Madre Humane Society,” said Ingle, “I am waiving any rights I have to be represented by counsel tonight.”
Collins responded, “I have no comment. I am a member of the state bar Texas Grievance Committee and cannot give you any advice.”
Ingle addressed first a letter in which she gave to the commissioners.
“I’ve sent a letter to the commission on the basis that we have notified the city previously to this. We are willing and able to settle this matter tonight.”
City Manager Ed Meza talked Wednesday of this approach and how this affected the eviction process.
“It is something that both sides have been advised not to do,” said Meza. “The LMHS forced this into a jury trial and now we are both bound to wait for the outcome of that hearing. We also want to resolve this and feel we have also acted in good faith to resolve this without litigation.”
The commissioners went in to the executive session but Ingle was not allowed to attend. During that time she talked at length about the services of the LMHS and the upcoming hearings.
“We are here to provide a service to the community,” she said. “And I just don’t think that the city can duplicate our job. What we do for the animals and for the citizens, why would the city get two officers trained in euthanasia unless they are going to back their ordinance?”
Asked what she thought would be different if the city took over, she commented, “Yeah, I really do because we have developed a working relationship with vets here, Harlingen and Brownsville. We get grant money so that we can take animals and our organization has always taken care of these animals.”
Ingle also took the time to speak about possible plans should the litigation swing in favor of the city, saying, “The Humane Society will go on. If we have to go to another shelter then we’ll have to remove our equipment and what not, because we don’t have a choice. If we have to find another facility we’re going to have to take it out.”
While waiting for the executive session to conclude, Ingle had a few final thoughts.
“Port Isabel is a wonderful city. It’s a shame that our relationship that has been going on for years, since 1993 has gotten to this point. I think it was probably a convergence of things.” For more on this story, pick up a copy of the Apr. 14 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.