FORT WORTH — More than three dozen dogs that were missing this month when authorities seized animals from a “puppy mill” in northwest Parker County have been located nearly 50 miles away near Graham, officials said Tuesday.A tipster told officials that the dogs were moved from the Parker County property to another breeding operation near Graham in Young County, said Tammy Roberts, interim director of the Humane Society of North Texas.The 45 dogs found near Graham include schnauzers, Shih Tzus, and German and Australian shepherds, she said.The man who operates the Graham facility apparently didn’t know the full history of the dogs and agreed Monday to release them to the Humane Society, Roberts said.“We went out to his property first to see if we could kind of reason with the gentleman, to see if he’d release them to us,” Roberts said. “He did, in fact, release the Parker County animals to me immediately.”Two weeks ago, acting on a tip, Parker County animal control officers and the Humane Society seized nearly 30 parasite-infested dogs and other animals from property in the 500 block of Hide Away Lane in the Garner-Cool area near the northeast shore of Lake Mineral Wells.Animal feces littered the kennels and inside the home where the dogs’ owners were living, officials said. All the animals suffered from internal or external parasites; some were pregnant, including a few that were elderly and considered too old to have puppies.The officials were told that many more dogs had been on the land and were probably removed when the owners learned that they were under investigation.After following the tip to Young County, officials learned that the breeder there accepted the Parker County dogs from the previous owner.But Roberts said, “He wasn’t totally in the loop on what was going on with them.”His facility was in much better shape than the one in Parker County, but it also was, in her opinion, overpopulated with 275 animals.“He was feeding them, he was cleaning them, and it was a clean facility, but a puppy mill nonetheless,” Roberts said. “So, we opened the door to him. “We did remove 100 from there Monday and I’ll hopefully go get another 100 to get him down to a manageable number. “He is definitely being very cooperative.”Meanwhile, the Humane Society’s space is nearly full at its shelter on East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth and off Farm Road 1187 in southern Tarrant County.During January, the 30 dogs originally seized in Parker County were soon joined by others from five similar operations, Roberts said.“Dog-wise, we’re looking at not quite 200,” she said. “But next week, we’ll probably be pushing 300, maybe 350 total, not including our general intake.”Roberts said a Great Dane seized two weeks ago has delivered a litter of puppies and a German shepherd, also from Parker County, is about to do the same.The original owners of the Parker County dogs did not show up for a custody hearing, so Humane Society officials hope to start offering some of the dogs for adoption soon, possibly this weekend.But with so many animals to feed in the next couple of weeks, Roberts said, the Humane Society needs donations.
Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST