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SPCA of Texas Receives Custody of 98 Allegedly Cruelly Treated Animals Seized from Van Zandt County Property


(VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX; DALLAS, TX); November 30, 2018 – Today, before a civil custody hearing, an agreement was reached between the SPCA of Texas and the owners of 98 allegedly cruelly treated animals seized from a property near Canton, Texas on November 20, 2018, for the owners to reliquish custody of all of the animals to the SPCA of Texas. Judge Sandra Plaster and the SPCA of Texas agreed to waive restitution with the agreement that the owners surrender all rights to all animals seized from the property. 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 case will be filed with the Van Zandt County District Attorney's Office.

On November 20, the SPCA of Texas, the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and the Van Zandt County Constable's Office, Pct. 2, seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 94 allegedly cruelly treated animals from a property in Van Zandt County, Texas. The 90 live animals seized include 60 pigs, nine dogs, eight horses, five donkeys, three goats, three chickens, one turkey and one cat. Four deceased animals, including three pigs and one rabbit, were also removed. Since the time of removal, four piglets have been born, one pig was euthanized due to failure to thrive and one pig passed away due to failure to thrive.

The horses, donkeys, chickens, goats and turkey were transported to the SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, the dogs and cat were transported to the SPCA of Texas' Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center and the live pigs were transported to an offsite care facility, where they were evaluated by medical staff and will be cared for until they are evaluated for adoption or placement. A licensed veterinarian performed necropsies on the deceased animals to attempt to determine the causes of death. The results of these necropsies indicated the animals died from weather exposure and starvation.

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The pigs, chickens and turkey were found confined to various separate pens with little to no access to food or potable water. Some of the live pigs were kept in pens containing deceased pigs. The horses were confined to pens and small pastures. Four dogs and the cat were found inside the residence, which was filled with debris, urine and feces. The remainder of the dogs were found roaming free on the property.

The animals appeared to be suffering from various health conditions, including eye discharge, nasal discharge, cracked hooves and long nails, and the majority of the animals appeared to be significantly underweight.

The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty on October 15, 2018. An SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigator visited the property the next day and made contact with the animal owner. At that time, the investigator was only allowed to view the animals from the front of the property and was not able to view the conditions inside of the residence. During this visit, the investigator implemented an agreement with the animal owner to bring the animals' conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code, educating the owner on the proper feeding and care of animals.

The investigator visited the property again on November 19, 2018, and was able to gain access to the entire property. The investigator witnessed dire conditions inside of the residence and observed that the remainder of the animals' conditions were still not in compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code, which provided probable cause in order to seek a seizure warrant. The seizure warrant was obtained and executed the next day on November 20, 2018. Additional evidence was gathered that indicated the animal owner was selling some of the animals for a profit.

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




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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