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SPCA of Texas Seizes 72 Animals from an Alleged Puppy Mill in Van Zandt County


VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX; DALLAS, TX); March 14, 2018--Today, the SPCA of Texas, the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and the Van Zandt County Constable, Pct. 2, seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 72 allegedly cruelly treated dogs and puppies from an alleged puppy mill—including 12 deceased animals—from a property in Canton, TX. SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the organization's Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas, where they will examined by medical staff and cared for until a custody hearing takes place.

To download photos, taken at the property, please click HERE

Many of the dogs and puppies were found in living in feces-filled wire crates with no access to food or water. In one room, several nursing mothers with litters of puppies were found confined in small, plastic and wire crates in a closet. Other dogs roamed the urine-soaked, feces-filled house with little to no access food or water. The twelve deceased animals, including one adult dog and eleven puppies, were found individually wrapped in plastic bags in the kitchen freezer.

The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level in the residence to be 22 parts per million (ppm). As a point of reference, short term exposure to any ammonia level over 20 ppm or long term exposure to any level over 12 ppm can cause health problems in humans.

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

The animal owner let investigators know that they were selling the dogs for profit. 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 received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty from another animal welfare organization on March 1st regarding an alleged puppy mill. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators visited the property that same day, but were not able to make contact with the owner. On Tuesday, March 13th, the Investigators returned to the property, when they witnessed the animals' conditions. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators and the Van Zandt County Constable's Office, Pct. 2 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.

A custody hearing will be held on Friday, March 23 at 10 a.m. at the Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Courthouse at 250 E. Grove St., Canton, TX, 75103, the Honorable Judge Sandra Plaster presiding.

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