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SPCA of Texas Awarded Custody of 15 of 20 Allegedly Cruelly Treated Animals Seized from Dallas County Property

 

 

 

(DALLAS, TX); July 5, 2018 – During a custody hearing on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, the SPCA of Texas was awarded custody of 15 of the 20 allegedly cruelly treated animals seized from an equine boarding facility in Dallas County on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Judge Valencia Nash ruled that 15 of the horses were cruelly treated and awarded custody of those horses to the SPCA of Texas. One of these horses was euthanized shortly after the seizure, leaving 14 live horses. Judge Nash assigned restitution in the amount of $3,600, to be paid by the owners of the 15 horses ruled to have been cruelly treated, 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 SPCA of Texas will continue to provide rehabilitative care and individually evaluate the animals for adoption or placement on a case by case basis. The judge ruled that five of the seized horses were not cruelly treated and awarded custody back to their owners. These five include two mares, two foals and one other horse. Criminal charges are expected to be filed in this case.


On Thursday, June 28, 2018, the SPCA of Texas, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and the Dallas Police Department seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 20 allegedly cruelly treated animals from an equine boarding facility in Dallas County. The animals seized include 14 horses and 6 miniature horses. One deceased horse was also found on the property, but it was too decomposed to remove. The live animals were transported to an offsite holding facility and two horses were taken to an equine veterinarian immediately. One of these two horses was later euthanized due to the severity of its condition. 


To download photos from the scene, please click HERE


Most of the horses were found living in various pens with no access to food, water or shelter. The miniature horses were found in a small round pen with no access to food or water. Two horses were confined to small, makeshift stalls with no access to food or water. One horse was found tied to a tree and one deceased horse was found, both in a wooded area on the property not visible during the investigation. These two horses were not discovered until a warrant was able to be obtained.


The animals appear to be suffering from various health issues, including open wounds, hair loss and cracked hooves, and the majority appear to be significantly underweight. One horse was so weak it was unable to stand and was given emergency subcutaneous fluids at the scene. Another horse has several open wounds that are so infected that the tissue had begun decaying. 


The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty on April 9, 2018 and visited the property on April 10, 2018. During that visit, the SPCA of Texas began identifying and attempting to work with the owners of the various horses, trying to educate them on the proper feeding and care of horses and entering into agreements with them if possible to bring the animals' conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code. Due to the nature of the equine boarding facility’s business practices, it was a time-consuming and difficult process to even determine individual ownership of the horses. Investigators visited the property six more times to work with owners if they were able to be identified and monitor the animals' conditions. When the investigator started the case, there were only a few horses whose conditions necessitated follow-up but were not critical enough to generate probable cause to seize them. During the majority of the investigation, the horses’ conditions visible to the investigators did not provide enough probable cause to seize them. Equine and livestock cases typically require longer investigations because equine and livestock take longer to lose and gain weight compared to dogs and cats. In this case, after seven visits to the property, the investigators were still unable to identify all of the owners due to lack of information from the property owner, but on June 27, 2018, the decline in the animals’ conditions was significant, finally giving investigators probable cause to seek a warrant to remove all horses on the property. At this time, the SPCA of Texas began gathering resources to remove the animals. The SPCA of Texas' investigator sought and obtained a seizure warrant on June 28, 2018 and executed the warrant the same day.


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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