Fort Worth

Looking for trash, Tarrant County Sheriff’s work crew found litter... of puppies

A Tarrant County Sheriff’s labor detail crew picking up trash in north Fort Worth Friday weren’t expecting to find this kind of litter — seven puppies.

The puppies, believed to be under 8 weeks old, were found amid a pile of junk in a popular dumping area off N.E. 30th Street and Prairie Avenue.

“One of our labor detail officers called and said we found a bunch of puppies so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go see some puppies,” said Sgt. Chandra Dell. “We weren’t expecting that many.”

Four of the puppies found by Officer B. Hancock and his crew were sprawled on a carpet covered with a pile of bones that Dell believes may have belonged to their mother.

“There was a bunch of old tires, old furniture, just trash around,” Dell said. “I kind of looked a little further and there was a tire where three more puppies were sitting by themselves.”

Dell said while labor details crews — made up of people performing community service — have previously found everything from guns to drugs to money, the discovery of such a large litter of puppies was a first.

“For me, I am a huge animal lover and so when I saw the conditions that they were dumped in, much less the fact they were dumped, we knew we had to do something.,” she said.

A Tarrant County Sheriff’s deputy holds a sleeping puppy, one of seven found by a labor detail crew picking up trash on Jan. 4. Courtesy Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

The puppies were gathered into a plastic crate found at the site.

“They were a little skinny but they actually seemed very friendly. They were happy to see us. They were kind of clamoring all over each other to get our attention,” Dell said. “They weren’t very dirty, which was an indication to us that they were recently dumped. But they looked very, very young. We didn’t know how old they were but they didn’t look old enough to be without a mom.”

The puppies, four males and three females, were first taken to a nearby Family Dollar store.

“One of our labor detail officers actually paid out of her own pocket,” Dell said. “We went and got dog food, shampoo, some collars and some toys and then some baskets to put them in.”

Puppies devour food after being found at a dump site in north Fort Worth by a Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office labor detail crew. Tarrant County Sheriff's Office Courtesy

Next stop was the labor detail offices, where the puppies were first fed, then bathed.

“It was so sad to watch but at the same time, they were hilarious because they were jumping all over each other,” Dell said. “...It was like kids in a candy store.”

Word about the puppies was spread on Facebook and by the end of the day, five already had new homes. Two others went to a rescue group and were soon adopted too, Dell said.

“Honestly we were just so excited,” Dell said. “This is not what we deal with on a daily basis. We were like like kids with them, too, playing around, sitting on the floor with them. It was a really fun day at work.”

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For 23 years, Deanna Boyd has covered crime for the Star-Telegram. She digs deep into the stories behind the tragedies and hosts Out of the Cold, a podcast about unsolved murders in North Texas. She is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and has won several journalism awards through the years.