SPCA of Texas Seizes 61 Dogs from a Suspected Puppy Mill in Tyler, TX
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At a hearing on Thursday, June 2, 2011, at the Smith County Courthouse, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, Judge Gary Alfred presiding, the SPCA of Texas received custody of 61 dogs seized at a puppy mill last week. Prior to the hearing, it was agreed by all parties--the dogs' owners, the Assistant District Attorney and the SPCA of Texas--that the owner would release ownership of the dogs to the SPCA of Texas and would pay restitution in the amount of $8,000 over the next three years. However, the SPCA of Texas does not actually expect to receive any of this money to help offset costs.
At the beginning of the hearing, the agreement was approved by Judge Alfred. The dogs will now be individually evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis. They will first require extensive veterinary treatment for illnesses such as severe dental disease, skin problems and severe ear infections. The dogs will go up for adoption in the coming weeks once they are released by an SPCA of Texas veterinarian.
Under the authority of the Smith County District Attorney's Office, the SPCA of Texas seized 61 cruelly confined dogs from a property in Tyler, TX on Thursday, May 26, 2011. The dogs—small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, Pekingese and Pomeranians—were reportedly also being medically neglected and used in a breeding operation, and were all housed in a 1,400 square foot residence on the property. Evidence shows that the animal owner sells her puppies at Canton First Mondays as well as through newspaper advertisements.
Two nursing mother dogs with their litters and two additional litters were housed in stacked or open wire cages in the laundry room area of the house. Many of the other dogs had free roam of the urine-soaked, feces-filled house and back yard while others were confined to the bedroom area of the house via a garden gate at the end of a hallway. The dogs appeared to be suffering from various medical issues, including hair loss, flea infestation, blindness, eye discharge, matted hair, long nails and various wounds.
"Puppy millers lead people to believe that the puppies they sell come from happy, healthy moms living in the lap of luxury, but that couldn't be further from the truth,” said Colby Grady, Chief Investigator for the SPCA of Texas. “The cruelty that goes on in puppy mills often isn't apparent to the public, as puppy millers hide the filthy conditions they force their breeding dogs to live in. Please help the SPCA of Texas stop the abuse by reporting all suspected cruelty, neglect and abuse to your local law enforcement and the SPCA of Texas.”
SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the dogs to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, TX, where they were examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing.
The SPCA of East Texas reached out to the SPCA of Texas on Friday, May 20 for assistance in this case. The SPCA of Texas' Chief Investigator met with the SPCA of East Texas and District Attorney's Office authorities on Monday, May 23. The SPCA of Texas concurred with the officials that it was in the dogs' best interest to obtain a warrant and remove the animals.
This had been an ongoing investigation involving multiple complaints, however in the past several days before the seizure, new evidence provided by the SPCA of East Texas uncovered the extent of the dogs' horrific living conditions and allowed law enforcement to seek a warrant and remove the animals from the property.
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.