Crime

Owners of 110 dogs, cats arrested after child, animal cruelty investigation

The owners of 110 dogs relinquished custody of the animals to the SPCA of Texas after a civil custody hearing in Van Zandt County on Tuesday following a months-long investigation into child and animal cruelty.
The owners of 110 dogs relinquished custody of the animals to the SPCA of Texas after a civil custody hearing in Van Zandt County on Tuesday following a months-long investigation into child and animal cruelty. ASPCA of Texas

The owners of 110 animals relinquished custody of the dogs, cats and a horse to the SPCA of Texas after a civil custody hearing in Van Zandt County in East Texas on Tuesday following a monthslong investigation into child endangerment and animal cruelty.

Judge Sandra Plaster also ordered the owners to pay $31,263.50 in restitution.

The investigation into the animal cruelty case ended on Oct. 26 when the SPCA of Texas and Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office took custody of 110 dogs from the property near Canton.

The animals that were seized include 39 puppies, 35 dogs, 24 cats, 11 kittens and one horse. The puppies, dogs, cats and kittens were transported to the SPCA of Texas’ Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas and the horse was transported to an offsite care facility, the SPCA said in a news release.

“Many of the dogs were found roaming free inside the feces-filled, urine soaked living room of the residence with no access to food or water,” the release said. “Most of the cats were found inside of a bedroom with several litter boxes full of feces and no access to food or water. More dogs and several litters of puppies were found confined to large, wire crates inside the master bedroom of the residence. Another bedroom held a few cats and a single litter of kittens. Two dogs were kept in a large outdoor pen on the property and the remainder of the dogs were found in the backyard of the residence.”

The ammonia levels inside the home were at a dangerous level for humans, the SPCA said. On top of that, the animals had medical issues ranging from hair loss, open sores, eye discharge, long nails, diarrhea and matted fur, the SPCA said.

Law enforcement were initially notified about the house in June during an investigation that was led by Child Protective Services. The SPCA of Texas visited the property that month and was denied access.

At that time, there was not enough probable cause to obtain a warrant to gain access to the inside of the residence. The investigation continued and warrants were executed on Oct. 26.

The owners were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and animal cruelty. They have not been identified.

Nichole Manna: 817-390-7684, @NicholeManna
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