Duncanville Police launched an investigation earlier this week after receiving an anonymous complaint on October 17, 2011 of animals living in unsanitary conditions at three homes in the 800 block of S. Cockrell Hill Road.
“On inspection of the homes, investigators found numerous dogs and cats caged in unsanitary conditions with feces and urine and obtained a seizure warrant,” said City of Duncanville spokesperson Tonya Lewis.
Under the authority of the Duncanville Police Department, the SPCA of Texas seized 108 cruelly confined dogs and cats this morning from a Duncanville, TX property. The animals–102 dogs and six cats–were being kept in and around three feces-filled, urine-soaked houses on the property, and were not receiving proper food, water or care. The smell of urine and feces was overwhelming throughout the property.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the SPCA of Texas is unable to share photos or video of the interior of the houses.
The cats and several of the dogs were living in filthy conditions in the house situated closest to the street. The cats were kept in a small, filthy room attached to the garage of this first house, where they had no choice but to live in their own feces and urine. Eight to ten dogs were living, some in rusted crates and some loose, in a room accessible from a bedroom in this first house. The floor in this room was decaying, and was coated in feces, urine and filthy bedsheets and blankets. The door to this room had been sealed off with industrial tape and hidden by a curtain.
The second house contained approximately 20 dogs who were living in deplorable conditions. These dogs were housed inside filthy, rusted and hair-encrusted wire cages that were caked in feces and urine, their food mixed in with feces, hay and bedsheets. In many cases, the feces mixture was stacked so high that SPCA of Texas staff members had to force the doors of the crates open by bending them enough to gently remove the dogs in order to prepare them for transport. The walls inside this house were covered with filth and cobwebs, and the floor was almost invisible under a layer of excrement anywhere from a few inches to a foot deep.
Approximately 70 dogs were living in and around the third house on the property. Many of these dogs were also kept inside rusted wire cages and pet carriers scattered throughout the house, but mainly in the kitchen, pantry, laundry room and main hallway areas. Special shelving had been constructed in a room off of the kitchen of this house that appeared to be specifically designed to house dogs stacked in cages. Several of these dogs were observed knawing on the bars. The areas of this house that contained dogs were covered in urine and feces. Dogs were also kept in large, filthy pens outside the house.
According to Lewis, the animals are in the care of the Texas SPCA. “Currently, the dogs and cats seized are undergoing medical and behavior evaluation and their condition will be documented as part of the investigation. The animals will remain in the care of the SPCA of Texas where they will be cared for until the custody hearing before the Duncanville Municipal Court.”
The SPCA of Texas has received information that the animal owner in this case was a part of a rescue group, and was separated from that group to start her own purported rescue group called Elliot’s Friends Rescue, allegedly transferring animals from at least one municipal shelter. It is important to note that although animal shelters need a license in order to operate in Texas, rescue groups do not. Some licensed shelters are put under such pressure to not euthanize animals for any reason that they end up transferring animals to anyone willing to accept them. Some rescue groups that end up taking more animals than they can reasonably handle then often end up warehousing these animals.
The rescue groups that the SPCA of Texas works with are all committed to finding homes for animals, and giving those animals the best of care until they are adopted into loving homes, not merely hoarding them like what we have witnessed today. Licensed shelters and reputable rescue groups are fully transparent in their communications, policies and procedures; allow you to see where their animals are housed; and have standards of care that include cleaning regimens, proper documentation of all treatments animals have received and a focus on finding homes for the animals in their care. By adopting from these groups, the public can help eliminate the so-called rescue groups that wind up cruelly treating animals.
“Investigators are continuing the investigation and will be charging the property owners with cruelty to animals and will present their findings to the Duncanville Municipal Court judge to obtain an arrest warrant. The Duncanville police will work with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to determine how many cases of animal cruelty will be filed,” says Lewis.
As always, the SPCA of Texas urges the public to contact law enforcement or contact the SPCA of Texas to report suspected animal cruelty or abuse. People can make a report to the SPCA of Texas by visiting www.spca.org/abuse.
The SPCA of Texas received a call from the Duncanville Police Department on Wednesday, October 19, and an SPCA of Texas Investigator visited the location that day. Upon discovering the cruel confinement, inadequate food and water and filthy living conditions, the Duncanville Police Department and the SPCA of Texas Investigator agreed that the animals were in need of care. The Duncanville Police Department obtained a seizure warrant and the SPCA of Texas transported the dogs and cats to the SPCA of Texas’ Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Rd. in McKinney,TX, where they will be cared for until the custody hearing.
The custody hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 26th at 1 p.m. at 203 E. Wheatland in Duncanville, TX.
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.