Gerber settles lawsuit against City of Katy

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 12/29/22

Chelsea Gerber, the former Katy Animal Control Department worker who had filed suit against the city, said she has settled her lawsuit.

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Gerber settles lawsuit against City of Katy


Chelsea Gerber, the former Katy Animal Control Department worker who had filed suit against the city, said she has settled her lawsuit.

Gerber, whose suit alleged the city violated the Texas Whistleblower Act, said many factors went into her decision to settle.

“I just needed peace,” Gerber said. “I already moved away from the Katy community, and the lawsuit has been going on for two years. Ultimately, it was in my best interest to settle.”

Gerber, who was a part-time animal control employee, filed a complaint against her two full-time colleagues, David Brown and Spencer Antinoro, alleging animal cruelty. The matter became a controversial issue both on social media and several Katy City Council meetings.

The Katy Police Department, which has authority over the animal control department and shelter, investigated and largely exonerated Brown and Antinoro. Both men remain in their roles.

In April 2021, the council created an animal control advisory board that worked with Police Chief Noe Diaz to suggest improvements in animal control practices. In August 2021, Diaz said the board made eight recommendations, six of which were adopted. These changes included reinstatement of a 72-hour stray hold, establishing a euthanasia policy and purchasing a cat cage. Other recommended changes that were adopted included requiring vaccinations for all intakes, modernizing the shelter and beginning public outreach.

The two recommendations referred to city staff were to find a rescue coordinator and establish a Katy pet wellness pilot program.

Gerber, who was placed on leave during the investigation, was asked to return to work but was fired Aug. 10, 2021. She filed her lawsuit in November 2021. The city denied her allegations in court-filed paperwork.

Gerber said she felt she accomplished her goals because of the positive changes happening at the Katy animal control department. She said these changes would not have happened had a lawsuit not been filed. She said her goals were to make sure all animals coming into the Katy Animal Control Department were treated humanely and that the department followed state-mandated standards for care.

Despite settling the lawsuit, Gerber said she planned to write more about the situation in Katy. She said she does not feel the public got a full picture of the situation and the complaints.

She said one regret about the matter was learning what other city officials knew about the situation. She said Ward B Council Member Rory Robertson told her he was looking forward to a trial so he could be subpoenaed and testify.

Robertson said he was provided information by both Gerber and the city, and he wanted the story to be made public.

“I had hoped that information would be brought to light to the public so as a community we could come together and correct any wrongdoings and move forward together with an animal control we could be proud of,” Robertson said, adding that he is proud of how things at the animal control department are going now. “Through all the vitriol that we’ve seen on both sides over the past two years, I am very proud of what Ms. Gerber has accomplished and what the city has accomplished. I’m very proud of the volunteers and the officers at the animal control department and all the progress they have made. I have spoken to them and see the vision to the future and it is very bright.”

Gerber said she would address issues involving discrimination, abuse of power by the police and being held to policies that did not exist.

“What was released on social media was a very small sampling of what was submitted to the Katy Police Department,” Gerber said. She said, however, she was not sure how she would publish the information, but hoped to do so in the next couple of months.

Today, Gerber and her family have moved to the Rosenberg area. There, she is constructing her own dog boarding facility. She said cats might be boarded in the future at her facility, but starting out it will just be dogs.

“Construction is not fun,” Gerber said.

With reporting from R. Hans Miller.

City of Katy, animal control, lawsuit