AUSTIN (KXAN) — Beans is OK.
“He’s happy to get treats,” says Kelsey Cler, Program Manager of Marketing and Communication at the Austin Animal Center.
She’s referring to the believed Pit Bull Terrier and Labrador Retriever mix, dubbed “Beans,” who is in recovery after he was shot two days after Christmas.
Beans was transferred to the Austin Animal Center and came up for adoption Wednesday.
Rewind to just before midnight on Dec. 27, officers with the Austin Police Department responded to a shots fired call at 6500 Champion Grandview Way in the northwest area of the city.
Det. Tim Diven, the Austin Police Department Animal Cruelty Unit’s sole investigator, says callers reported hearing shots at an apartment complex located near the corner of Loop 360 and Ranch Road 2222.
When officers got there, Det. Diven said they spoke to witnesses and later discovered the dog.
“He had a wound to his head that was bleeding,” explains Det. Diven, adding that officers treated him there and later took him to a nearby veterinary hospital.
Cruelty to animals is not foreign to Det. Diven, a 21-year veteran of the Austin Police Department. He’s been with APD’s Animal Cruelty Unit for nine years.
Lately, he’s especially busy managing 800 to 1,000 cases per year.
On top of that, in October 2021, he says he lost the other detective on his team due to staff repurposing that’s been going on within the department.
The unit is now made up of him and another civilian officer who has an animal control background.
It’s difficult to know what exactly happened in Beans’ case, because according to Diven, the few leads they were given from witnesses turned up short.
“They don’t have a voice so we kind of liken it to homicide cases,” he explains. “It’s a similar type of investigation since the victims can’t speak.”
Officers found no shell casings near Beans either. The fact that it happened at an apartment complex versus a home also made the investigation a bit different.
No owners or anyone else had come forward at the time of this report. Beans also isn’t microchipped and had no tags on at the time.
Diven says all of this led to Beans’ case being closed.
Out of the hundreds of cases he handles per year, he said an average of 40-50 warrants for suspects’ arrests come out of them.
As the single investigator, he tries to save up his time and resources for the extreme cases, where evidence points to a suspect and charges can be filed.
“I’m an animal lover,” says Det. Diven. “Being able to get justice for them” is his favorite part of the difficult job.
He says he also tries to do as much education as he can while interacting with the community about caring for their pets.
Unfortunately, injuries to dogs aren’t totally uncommon for Cler to see either.
“We treat about 50 emergency cases a month, with anything from them being hit by cars…we have had some gunshot cases before,” says Cler.
The benefit is Cler and Diven work together closely since the unit is housed at the same place.
“If we notice anything that we feel like needs to go to their attention or they have an incoming case, we share that with each other,” says Cler.
Beans is still taking medication for his eye that was injured from the gunshot and pain medication, according to Cler.
Beans’ eye also might need to be removed in the future due to his injury as well.
He also had injuries to his mouth so they’ve had to feed him softer foods.
Cler says they’re working on a long-term care plan for him, and hope to either find Beans’ family or get him adopted into a new and loving home.