SPCA of Texas Granted Custody of

20 Dogs Seized from Kaufman County Property


(KAUFMAN COUNTY, TX/McKINNEY, TX); September 29, 2010 -- At a hearing that began yesterday and ended today at the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman, TX, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Judge Johnny Perry awarded custody of 20 dogs seized under the authority of the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department on Friday, September 24, 2010, to the SPCA of Texas. Judge Perry also awarded restitution in the amount of $5,247.26 to the SPCA of Texas. However, the SPCA of Texas does not expect to actually receive any of this money to help offset costs.

After the hearing was over, the owner decided to surrender the animals to the SPCA of Texas so that the SPCA of Texas could immediately begin the process of individually evaluating the animals for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

The animal owner, Connie Botkin, admitted that conditions were poor and that the animals were in bad shape.

SPCA of Texas staff veterinarian Dr. Shawn Ashley, in her evaluation of the animals' conditions, said, "In my professional opinion, these animals lacked basic care, lacked basic preventive medicine, lacked proper nutrition and were housed in a less than adequate environment."

"I agree with the evidence of the SPCA of Texas and their veterinarian. I can't argue, the animals were neglected," said Ms. Botkin. "I let everything get out of control."

"I've heard a lot of testimony over the last two days, and I think you're a good lady, but I think this is more responsibility than you can handle," said Judge Perry. "We have 20 animals that are in poor shape...that's the bottom line."

"I've seen the animals that come in and I've seen animals that I thought didn't have a chance, but the SPCA of Texas has rehabilitated them," Judge Perry continued. "I've seen the results and I think the SPCA of Texas does an exceptional job."

To view videos, click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: www.spca.org/kaufman092410video

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After receiving a complaint of animal cruelty, the Kaufman County Sheriff's department visited the property and discovered the alleged animal cruelty and fire hazards. The Kaufman County Sheriff's department called the SPCA of Texas and the Kaufman County Fire Marshal on Thursday, September 23 and both agencies immediately responded to the property. After visiting the location, the Fire Marshal issued an order to disconnect the electricity due to imminent danger to the life of the people and animals on the property. 

Even though many of the animals were in need of immediate veterinary care, the animal owner refused to take them to a veterinarian for treatment and refused the SPCA of Texas' offer to allow her to surrender the animals so that they could receive the care they needed. At that time, the SPCA of Texas concurred with the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department that it was in the animals' best interest to obtain a warrant and remove the animals. The sheriff's department also called in Kaufman County Environmental Enforcement to investigate the conditions on the property.

On Friday, September 24, some of the dogs were confined to wire crates inside one mobile home full of hay and debris; others were confined to a second, feces-filled mobile home on the property, which also appeared to be used as the owner's residence and half of the dogs were tethered outside. The smell of feces was overwhelming throughout the entire property.

Most of the dogs were thin and did not have access to appropriate food or water, 16 had hair loss and skin conditions, 18 had internal parasites and all were infested with fleas. Some dogs also had eye discharge and broken teeth. Many of the dogs were in need of immediate veterinary care, and one dog had a broken foot that an SPCA of Texas veterinarian estimated had it been broken more than 12 weeks previously and had not been treated.

"These living conditions are not suitable for animals much less humans," said Deputy Constable, Pct. 1, Shawn Mayfield. "My hat is off to the SPCA of Texas for seizing the animals and providing them with the proper care they deserve."

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.

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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