A 41-year-old Parker County woman and her two sons face charges of animal cruelty after an animal control officer discovered a pit bull outside their home that officials say was so severely neglected, abused and diseased that the officer initially thought it was dead.
Elizabeth Jean Lopes, 42, and her sons, Jose Luis Burciaga, 20, and Anjellino Ezekiel Burciaga, 19, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of animal cruelty.
All three remained in the Parker County Jail Thursday. Bond had not been set as of Thursday morning.
The pitbull, named Belle by the animal control officer who found her, had to be euthanized due to her condition. Parker County officials said the dog, less than a year old, was severely dehydrated and malnourished and had been suffering, untreated for several months, from mange.
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Animal Control officer Matt Anderson had been patrolling the Western Lake Estates Tuesday afternoon when he spotted the female pit bull lying next to the front steps of a home in the 100 block of Tumblewood Drive.
Anderson initially believed the dog was dead or a stuffed animal, said Deputy Danie Huffman, a spokesman with the Parker County Sheriff’s Department.
Soon discovering that she was alive, Anderson took the dog to the Weatherford-Parker County Animal Shelter to be medically evaluated.
“He brought her out of the animal box and all he did was put a towel over her skin and she just howled and cried in pain,” Huffman said Thursday. “Even though she was continuously crying in pain from him just touching her, she was still wagging her tail happy to see somebody giving her attention.”
Huffman said two other dogs — a pit bull and a miniature terrier — were found chained to a chain-link fence on the property and have since been seized by animal control. Both dogs appeared to be in relatively good health though the put bull was tangled in a long water hose, Huffman said.
“The other dogs were said to have attacked Belle, leaving her with open wounds (and) obvious infection, which worsened daily due to lack of medical attention,” officials said in a news release.
Huffman said Thursday that although Belle belonged to Jose Burciaga, all three adults face charges because none did anything to help the dog.
“They were living at the house. They literally crossed that dog’s path every time they entered or exited that home,” Huffman said.
Animal Control supervisor Karen Kessler said the dog’s injuries could have been survivable if treated earlier..
“Had any one of the suspects sought medical attention in the early stages of infection, Belle would have survived and she would be here with us today,” Kessler said in the news release. “Her condition is tragic and was inflicted at the hands of adults who obviously did not care.”