SPCA of Texas Awarded Custody of 25 Animals Seized from Ferris, TX Property

(WAXAHACHIE, TX); August 23, 2010--Today at the Ellis County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Courthouse in Waxahachie, TX, Judge Curtis Polk awarded custody of 18 horses, five puppies and two dogs seized under the authority of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department on Friday, August 13, 2010 from a property in Ferris, TX to the SPCA of Texas. Judge Polk also awarded restitution in the amount of $10,812.00 to the SPCA of Texas. However, the SPCA of Texas does not expect to actually receive any of this money to help offset costs.

At the hearing -- which began on Friday, August 20 and continued into Monday, August 23 -- the animal owner and his girlfriend gave testimony that the animals' living conditions were acceptable and that the property was completely free of trash and other debris. However, Ellis County Animal Control Officer Julio Hernandez testified that several of the horses were living in a barn full of debris and excrement, other horses were living in filth, the entire property reeked of feces and urine, there was an overall lack of appropriate food and water and some of the horses were suffering from injuries that needed medical attention.

During the hearing, when asked if the conditions at the property were OK to leave horses in, Dr. Timothy Holt, DVM, said, "No."

In the professional opinion of the SPCA of Texas' Veterinarian who examined all of the animals, the horses and dogs were victims of neglect with their primary needs of proper food, water and shelter being denied, and basic husbandry and preventive medicine needs ignored.

In closing arguments, the Assistant District Attorney, Christen Barnes, addressed Judge Polk, saying, "Please do not give this man another opportunity to make these animals' lives miserable."

"I'm happy with the decision because the animals are now receiving proper care and living in a healthy environment," said Colby Grady, Chief Investigator for the SPCA of Texas.

Texas state statute says that the owner has a right to appeal this court's decision within the next ten days. If no appeal is filed during that time, then the SPCA of Texas will begin the process of individually evaluating the animals for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

To download photos from the scene, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into a browser: http://www.spca.org/elliscounty081310.

On the day the animals were seized, several of the horses were being cruelly confined and many of the animals were in immediate need of veterinary care. Most of the animals were lacking basic care and did not have access to fresh water. The heat wave in North Texas, combined with the lack of fresh water, put the animals' health at even greater risk.

Two of the horses were being kept in a makeshift pen measuring approximately eight feet by ten feet, and were standing in mud about eight to ten inches deep. These horses were unable to move freely and were covered in mud and feces. Another horse, living in another makeshift pen located directly above the septic tank line, was forced to stand in over a foot of raw sewage coming up from the septic system. A fourth horse, found tied to a tree, had limited movement to the point that he couldn't stand comfortably. None of these horses had access to a water source.

Five additional horses were living in a barn on the property, and were standing in mud and filth in uncleaned stalls. One of these horses was cribbing severely (chewing on her enclosure, making teeth marks in the steel). Cribbing in horses occurs due to poor diet and/or stress. Of the five horses living in the barn, three need immediate veterinary attention due to severe open wounds on their bodies. While these horses had access to water, what little there was was filthy, stagnant and undrinkable.

The other nine horses, found living in a pasture, had a range of body condition from very thin to normal. However, these horses did not have an appropriate water source.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Department received a report that another horse recently died due to lack of care.

The two dogs were emaciated and weak. The puppies were in fair condition. The male dog was chained to a tree on the property without food, water or shelter. This dog, which was dehydrated to a life-threatening degree and in kidney failure when he arrived at the shelter, was later humanely euthanized. The mother dog and the puppies were found loose on the property.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Department received a call regarding the animals' conditions on July 13th, and began attempting to work with the owner regarding the cruel confinement and the lack of care. The owner was unresponsive. The Ellis County Sheriff's Department called the SPCA of Texas on August 9th, and an SPCA of Texas investigator visited the property. The SPCA of Texas concurred with the Ellis County Sheriff's Department that it was in the animals' best interest to obtain a warrant and remove the animals immediately.   

SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, TX, where they were examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing. One horse that required specialized handling has been housed at an undisclosed location.

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.

 
 
The SPCA of Texas is the leading animal welfare agency in North Texas. The non-profit organization operates two shelters and two spay/neuter clinics located in Dallas and McKinney, and maintains a team of five animal cruelty investigators to respond to thousands of calls in eight North Texas counties. Moreover, the SPCA of Texas serves as an active resource center for an array of services that bring people and animals together to enrich each others’ lives. The SPCA of Texas is not affiliated with any other entity and does not receive general operating funds from the City of Dallas, State of Texas, federal government or any other humane organization. The SPCA of Texas is dedicated to providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home.

 

SPCA of Texas and Ellis County Sheriff's Department Seize
18 Horses, 5 Puppies and 2 Dogs from Ellis County Property

(FERRIS, TX/McKINNEY, TX); August 13, 2010--Under the authority of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department, the SPCA of Texas seized 18 horses, five puppies and two dogs on Friday, August 13 from a property near Ferris, TX. A custody hearing began on Friday, August 20 at 10 a.m. at the Ellis County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3 Courthouse at 101 W Main St in Waxahachie, TX, Judge Curtis Polk presiding. The hearing has been continued until Monday, August 23 at 10 a.m.

To view photos from the scene, see below.

Several of the horses were being cruelly confined and many of the animals were in immediate need of veterinary care. Most of the animals were lacking basic care and did not have access to fresh water. The current heat wave in North Texas, combined with the lack of fresh water, put the animals' health at even greater risk.

Two of the horses were being kept in a makeshift pen measuring approximately eight feet by ten feet, and were standing in mud about eight to ten inches deep. These horses were unable to move freely and were covered in mud and feces. Another horse, living in another makeshift pen located directly above the septic tank line, was forced to stand in over a foot of raw sewage coming up from the septic system. A fourth horse, found tied to a tree, had limited movement to the point that he couldn't stand comfortably. None of these horses had access to a water source.

Five additional horses were living in a barn on the property, and were standing in mud and filth in uncleaned stalls. One of these horses was cribbing severely (chewing on her enclosure, making teeth marks in the steel). Cribbing in horses occurs due to poor diet and/or stress. Of the five horses living in the barn, three need immediate veterinary attention due to severe open wounds on their bodies. While these horses had access to water, what little there was was filthy, stagnant and undrinkable.

The other nine horses, found living in a pasture, had a range of body condition from very thin to normal. However, these horses did not have an appropriate water source.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Department received a report that another horse recently died due to lack of care.

The two dogs are emaciated and weak. The puppies are if fair condition. One of the dogs was chained to a tree on the property without food, water or shelter. This dog is currently in critical condition. The mother dog and the puppies were loose on the property.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Department received a call regarding the animals' conditions on July 12th, and began attempting to work with the owner regarding the cruel confinement and the lack of care. The owner was unresponsive. The Ellis County Sheriff's Department called the SPCA of Texas on August 9th, and an SPCA of Texas investigator visited the property. The SPCA of Texas concurred with the Ellis County Sheriff's Department that it was in the animals' best interest to obtain a warrant and remove the animals immediately. 

SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, TX, where they will be examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing. One horse that required specialized handling will be housed at an undisclosed location.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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