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SPCA of Texas Awarded Custody of 19 Allegedly Cruelly Treated Dogs Seized from Dallas Property

(DALLAS, TX); September 12, 2018 – Today, during a civil custody hearing, the SPCA of Texas was awarded custody of 19 allegedly cruelly treated dogs seized from a property in the 1000 block of Hidden Valley Drive in South Central Dallas. Judge Valencia Nash ruled that the dogs were cruelly treated and assigned restitution in the amount of $3,545.80 for the cost of investigation, expert witnesses, housing and care for the animals from the time of the seizure to the hearing in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code. The owner of the dogs has 10 days to appeal the ruling, and during this time the SPCA of Texas will continue to provide rehabilitative care. If the SPCA of Texas receives final custody after this process is complete, the organization will individually evaluate the animals for adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

The animals seized include 15 live dogs and four deceased dogs. Ten of the live dogs and the four deceased dogs were seized on Friday, September 7, and five of the live dogs were seized on Saturday, September 8. The live dogs were transported to the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas, where they were evaluated by medical staff. While 15 live dogs were seized, one of the emaciated dogs was later euthanized due to kidney failure as recommended by a licensed veterinarian. The four deceased dogs removed from the property on Friday, September 7, were too decomposed for necropsies to return reliable indication of cause of death, but were held in custody as evidence.

To download photos of some of the dogs, please visit https://www.dropbox.com/sh/of58w7oy9q3ov65/AABpNciN7mGxkae5RAIgkRbza?dl=0.

Of the living dogs, six were found in the back yard. Five dogs were found inside the house in individual crates. Three of the dogs were found inside the garage of the house. The remaining dog was found inside a crate on the front porch. Two of the deceased dogs were found in the garage and two were found in the back yard, one inside a dog igloo and the other inside a large trash can. None of the deceased dogs were visible from outside the property.

The animals appear to be suffering from various health issues, including long nails, malnourishment and fly strike. One of the live dogs was emaciated, one is thin and all of the other live dogs are slightly underweight.

In April of 2018, Dallas Animal Services picked up a dog running at large near the Hidden Valley Drive property and asked the SPCA of Texas to review the dog’s condition. There was no evidence at that time to indicate any violation to the Texas State Animal Cruelty Statute, and no case of animal cruelty was opened with the SPCA of Texas.

The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty at the Hidden Valley Drive property from Dallas Animal Services on Friday, September 7, 2018 and SPCA of Texas Investigators visited the property right away. Dallas Animal Services called the SPCA of Texas to take on this investigation pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SPCA of Texas and the Dallas Police Department designed to help bring perpetrators of animal cruelty to justice. For more information about the MOU and how the SPCA of Texas investigates animal cruelty, please visit www.spca.org/acistats.

During Friday’s visit, the SPCA of Texas' Investigators observed that the conditions of the animals in plain sight were in violation of Texas State Animal Cruelty Statute. The SPCA of Texas then sought and obtained a civil seizure warrant and executed that warrant immediately. This civil warrant allowed the Investigators access to the property and any areas not secured by locks in order to seize any animal in plain sight. Investigators tried to gain access to the residence on the property, but all doors and windows were securely locked and Investigators were unable to see inside the house from outside. A separate warrant, an evidentiary criminal search warrant, was necessary to gain access to the locked house, and the SPCA of Texas Investigator contacted a District Judge on Friday night and presented the evidence obtained that day to that judge on the morning of Saturday, September 8. Based on the evidence, the District Judge signed an evidentiary criminal search warrant and the SPCA of Texas immediately served that warrant, gained access to the interior of the house and seized the remaining five dogs.

The SPCA of Texas expects to file criminal charges in this case. Under current judicial structure, the SPCA of Texas' Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit must prove the facts of the case and provide proper evidence, gathered in the proper way according to legal standards to the District Attorney's Office and any judge. It is the SPCA of Texas’ goal to build the best case possible in order to move forward.

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.

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SPCA of Texas Voices

"I'm absolutely in LOVE with Kitty (formerly Kaleigh). I know her name isn't original at all but I just started calling her that until I could think of a name and it just stuck - it's so her! I've attached two photos - she's seriously the most beautiful kitty in the world! She loves to steal tennis balls and bones from her dog sister - she thinks she's a dog! She enjoys going for walks and car rides, snuggling with mom, bird watching, drinking from the sink, playing with her pipe cleaners and getting into mom's makeup in the mornings. I couldn't 'imagine life without her. She's the absolute best!"

Laureen Jankins

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