BAYTOWN, Texas — Houston-area authorities have accused three animal control officers of subjecting dogs to needless suffering while euthanizing the animals.

The Harris County district attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday that the officers worked at the Baytown Animal Control and Adoption Center and did not follow state law by first sedating the dogs before putting them down.

The three each are charged with improper euthanasia of animals. Authorities say the incidents occurred in May 2015. One of the officers continues to work for the center.

They’re also accused of disposing of the dogs’ bodies without first checking vital signs to confirm they were dead. Some were stuffed into plastic bags.

Baytown police began investigating when a former employee alerted them that euthanasia procedures were being violated.

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