SPCA of Texas and Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department Seize
16 Donkeys, 6 Horses, 5 Cattle, 3 Miniature Horses and 2 Dogs
from Van Zandt County Property


(CANTON, TX/McKINNEY, TX); August 17, 2010 -- Under the authority of the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department, the SPCA of Texas seized 32 animals -- 16 donkeys, six horses, five head of cattle, three miniature horses and two dogs -- today from a property in Canton, TX. A hearing to determine custody of the animals will be held on Tuesday, August 24 at 10 a.m. at the Van Zandt County, Pct. 1 Courthouse located at 212 W. Garland in Grand Saline, TX, Judge Don Kirkpatrick presiding.

The animals were suffering from neglect due to lack of appropriate care, food, water and shelter. The current heat wave in North Texas was putting the animals' health at even greater risk. In fact, three of the horses were at the brink of death.

To view photos from the scene, please see below.

All of the animals were roaming the fenced property, some in a pasture and some in a pen, but none had access to any water source or shelter. Furthermore, the pasture and pen were bare, what few hay bales that had been observed on the property were inadequate to feed 32 animals and a few of the animals were in dire need of veterinary care.

A veterinarian specializing in the care of livestock animals was on site to evaluate three of the horses. The veterinarian deemed those three horses fit for travel. Those specific horses are emaciated and will be placed on a special feeding program.

The animals will be treated for various medical issues such as wounds, abcesses and other skin problems.

The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department received a call regarding the animals' conditions on August 2nd, and began attempting to work with the owner regarding the lack of care. Three severely underweight horses were observed on the property on that date.

On August 5th, an SPCA of Texas investigator visited the property with the Sheriff's department and observed the same three severely underweight horses. The owner stated that he had recently taken those horses to a veterinarian and that the horses were fine.

However, because the owner could not provide veterinary records, the SPCA of Texas and the Sheriff's department outlined an agreement for the owner to bring the horses' conditions into compliance with the Texas Health and Safety Code; specifically, to take the three severely underweight horses to a veterinarian for evaluation by August 7.

On August 7, the Sheriff's department went to the property on another complaint regarding a separate incident and followed up with the owner about the horses. The owner indicated that he had been too busy to take the horses to see a veterinarian.

The Sheriff's department contacted the SPCA of Texas about the owner not complying, and then both agencies made several attempts to contact the owner, but the owner was unresponsive.

On August 16th, the Sheriff's department executed a search warrant on the property, with the SPCA of Texas present to observe the animals' conditions. It was at this time that the full extent of the neglect became apparent, and the SPCA of Texas concurred with the Van Zandt Sheriff's Department that it was in the animals' best interest to obtain a seizure warrant and remove the animals immediately. 

SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, TX, where they will be examined by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing.

If the SPCA of Texas is awarded custody of the animals, they would be individually evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

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.



















Rescue & Investigations

Rescue and Investigations
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