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SPCA of Texas Awarded Custody of 140 Animals Seized from an Alleged Puppy Mill in Fannin County

(FANNIN COUNTY, TX; DALLAS, TX); January 12, 2018--At a custody hearing today at the Fannin County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 Courthouse in Bonham, TX, Judge Royce W. Smithey found that 140 animals seized from a Honey Grove property had been cruelly treated and awarded custody of the animals to the SPCA of Texas. The judge also awarded $33,338.85 in restitution to the SPCA of Texas 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. However, the SPCA of Texas does not expect to receive any of this money to help offset costs. If the animal owner does not file an appeal in the next ten days, the SPCA of Texas would at that time individually evaluate the animals for adoption or placement on a case by case basis. If the animal owner does file an appeal in the next ten days, that hearing will take place at a later date, and that court's ruling will be final.

Should the SPCA of Texas receive final custody of the animals, the organization will continue to provide them with all necessary care and rehabilitation and evaluate each one for placement or adoption on a case by case basis in the days and weeks following final custody.

On Saturday, January 6, the SPCA of Texas, the Fannin County Sheriff's Office and the Honey Grove Police Department seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 140 allegedly cruelly treated animals from an alleged puppy mill--including 117 dogs, 21 puppies and two cats--from a property near Honey Grove, TX. SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the organization's Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas, where they were examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing.

To download photos, taken at the property, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into a browser:

More than 30 dogs were housed inside the residence on the property. Most of the animals were housed in a structure behind the residence, and were all found living in filthy cages, crates and kennels, up to three dogs in each. This structure was infested with roaches, which were found crawling all over the dogs and cats housed there. In one area, the dogs were being housed in feces- and urine-filled wire crates stacked on top of each other. In another area, a makeshift run of feces- and urine-filled pens held the majority of the dogs. The entire structure was coated in feces and drenched in urine, and the stench of feces and urine was so strong that it caused investigators to gag and could be smelled from well outside the structure. 

The animals appear to be suffering from various health issues, including matted fur, fur loss, fleas, dental issues, long nails, ear issues, tumors and more.

The animal owner let investigators know that they were selling the dogs. All large-scale animal breeders in Texas are required by law to be licensed and inspected on a regular basis. It is unclear at this point if the animal owner is properly licensed. The Texas puppy mill bill, known as the Large-Scale Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Bill, took effect on September 1, 2012. It provides guidelines for the treatment of animals in large-scale commercial breeding operations in Texas, defined as breeders who keep 11 or more breeding females or sell 20 or more puppies or kittens a year. The law specifies that certain parameters exist for such animals, including feeding, space, shelter, ventilation and medical care, and is administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The SPCA of Texas' Animal Cruelty Investigators and the Fannin County Sheriff's Office received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty from Child Protective Services, which was on the property regarding another matter, on Thursday, January 4. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators and the Fannin County Sheriff's Office visited the property on Friday, January 5 when they witnessed the animals' conditions. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators and the Fannin County Sheriff's Office concurred that it was in the animals' best interest to seize them, took the information to a judge and the judge granted a search and seizure warrant.

To help support the SPCA of Texas' efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, please visit To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, please visit our website at


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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

Pet Owner