(HUNT COUNTY, TX; McKINNEY, TX); July 18, 2012 --Under the authority of the Hunt County Constable, Precinct 1, the SPCA of Texas took custody of 249 animals--186 fowl of various species, 32 rabbits, 13 cats, 11 dogs and seven piglets--on Wednesday, July 18th from a Hunt County property north of Terrell, TX. The animals were not receiving adequate food, water, shelter or care.
The SPCA of Texas received a complaint regarding concerns of animal cruelty. An SPCA of Texas Investigator visited the property on July 5th and discovered the animals' conditions. The SPCA of Texas attempted to work with the owner to bring the animals' conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code. When the SPCA of Texas' Investigator returned to the property on July 16th, the animals' conditions had deteriorated. The SPCA of Texas and the Hunt County Constable visited the property on Tuesday, July 17th, and at that time the Hunt County Constable and the SPCA of Texas concurred that it was in the animals' best interest to remove the animals, and the Hunt County Constable sought a seizure warrant. During the last two visits to the property, a deceased goat and a deceased pig were found. The goat was found, bloated and stiff, in the front of the property on July 16th, and the piglet was found floating in his water source, which was contaminated, on July 17th.
The odor of feces was strong throughout the property. Dogs, cats, fowl and rabbits were living in feces-filled, overcrowded conditions in pens, cages and coops. Most of the animals were housed outside on the property, all of which was covered in feces and urine. Several dogs were living in make-shift pens made of chicken wire. Some rabbits were housed in elevated hutches and the rest lived in make-shift chicken wire that were full of feces. Most of the fowl were running loose on the property, but others were kept in make-shift crates the size of shoe boxes, also made of chicken wire. One small shed housed two chicken incubators that had chicks inside. Although the outside temperatures are climbing into the high 90s, one of the incubators still had a heat lamp running.
Some of the animals did not have access to an appropriate water source, and the only water many of the animals had to drink was contaminated. Many of the animals appeared to be unhealthy and lethargic.
"Not only is this a puppy mill, but this case is unique in that other animals in addition to dogs are being bred in a sub-standard environment, just to turn a profit," said Colby Grady, Chief Investigator for the SPCA of Texas.
Additionally, the owner stated that they were selling the animals at a flea market.
SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Road in McKinney, TX, where they will be examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing. Some of the animals will later be transferred to the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in Dallas, TX.
The custody hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the Hunt County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 2 courthouse at 2801 Stuart Street in Greenville, Texas, Judge Sheila Linden presiding.
If the SPCA of Texas is awarded custody of the animals, they would be individually evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.
To help support the SPCA of Texas and its efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, please visit www.spca.org/helptheanimals. To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, please visit our website at www.spca.org.