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Dozens of dogs, cats seized from residence

Jim Hardin / Herald Banner
The SPCA of Texas loaded up dozens of dogs and cats which were seized Wednesday from a residence near Royse City.

Dozens of animals were seized Wednesday from a residence near Royse City, after they were allegedly discovered living in crates inside the home.

“The living conditions were, obviously, terrible,” said Hunt County Constable Precinct 1 Terry Jones, who joined representatives with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals of Texas, deputies with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and Investigator Mike Pierce with the Hunt County Attorney’s Office in the action.

It was the second time in less than 36 months that the same home on County Road 2597 had been the focus of an animal cruelty investigation.

“We executed a search warrant at a doublewide mobile home,” Jones said, adding a husband and wife lived at the residence. “We seized 89 dogs and cats from out of the mobile home.”

The SPCA of Texas reported it took custody of 57 dogs, 26 cats, five puppies and one kitten from the property.

The SPCA of Texas indicated most of the dogs were kept in feces- and urine-filled crates in the house, and one crate also contained dead mice. Several dogs were loose inside the house. Two dogs were found outside, one in a pen next to the residence and one kept in the backyard, and one dog was found inside a car that was parked on the property.

The cats and kitten were kept in a separate room inside the house.

The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level in the residence to be 62 parts per million (ppm). Short term exposure to any ammonia level over 20 ppm or long term exposure to any level over 12 ppm can cause health problems in humans.

The dogs and cats were reported to have varying health issues, including hair loss, flea infestation, and nose and eye discharge.

The SPCA of Texas seized 45 animals from this same property on October 15, 2010 and reported the agency and Jones had been working with the animal owner for more than a year to bring the animals’ living conditions into compliance with the Texas Health and Safety Code. The animal owner had worked to comply, and had surrendered 12 dogs to the SPCA of Texas in December 2013.

Jones said he and the SPCA of Texas had regularly checked on the residence and found the animals’ conditions had recently worsened, to where 196th District Court Judge Steve Tittle signed and issued the search warrant for the property.

Jones said the dogs ranged in size from 20 to 100 pounds and that criminal charges were pending against the couple Wednesday.

The SPCA of Texas transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Road in McKinney, where they are being examined by medical staff and will be cared for until the custody hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday before Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Place 1 Wayne Money inside the Hunt County Criminal Justice Center at 2801 Stuart Street in Greenville.

If the SPCA of Texas is awarded custody of the animals, they would be individually evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.