Some puppies that were picked up by Animal Control on the city's northwest side Wednesday were euthanized just a day later, even though they were said to be healthy.

Those in charge at Animal Care Services said it was the only humane thing to do.

The sad reality is that it happens more often than one would think. 11,000 dogs are brought in by Animal Control each year in Corpus Christi as a result of the city's ever growing stray animal problem.

The puppies were picked up by Animal Control officers on Savage Street Wednesday. They were responding to a report of a large pack of dogs including the puppies' mother, who escaped capture. The pups were only three or four days old.

Commander Todd Green of the Corpus Christi Police Department, which overseas Animal Control, said that in order to keep the pups alive, since their mother wasn't around it would have required 24-hour care. They simply did not have the personnel to do that. Too young to eat dog food, the puppies needed to be bottle fed every three hours.

The puppies also needed to be manually stimulated to have bowel movements or they would have died on their own.

Animal Care Services did not want to leave the pups on the street, and Green said that the only humane thing to do was to put the puppies down.

Cheryl Martinez, board member of People Assisting Animal Control, a group that tries to get dogs adopted rather than being euthanized, said that people should not blame Animal Control for the outcome.

"They do care. They're a very compassionate, great group of people who work there," Martinez said during a phone interview. "All we want is the public to understand this is a very difficult decision for any of them to have to do this. We want the public to understand they're not easy decisions they have to make."

Members of the Gulf Coast Humane Society said they would not have been able to take the puppies either. They, too, lacked adequate personnel to provide the necessary care.

Of the animals that are taken in by Animal Control, 30-percent of them are not strays. Instead, they are pets dumped by their owners, who do not want to care for them anymore.

Martinez said the only way to stop the stray animal problem is for pet owners to take responsibility and spay or neuter their pets.