Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

January 24, 2014

Humane Society given custody of seized dogs  

Mineral Wells Index

— By JUDY SHERIDAN | Lone Star News Group

WEATHERFORD – Pregnant dogs confined to small rabbit cages ... kennel floors  — as well as carpeted residential bedrooms — piled with feces and soaked in urine ... dogs weakened by inbreeding, unchecked parasites and overall neglect.

This was just part of the evidence submitted by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of North Texas Tuesday in a property hearing held in Justice of the Peace Kelly Green’s court.   

After reviewing the evidence and testimony, Green ruled that the 33 animals — 26 dogs, two cats, two rabbits and three rats — seized from 511 Hide Away Lane in the Garner ISD last week, had been cruelly treated and awarded them to the Humane Society of North Texas.

He also assessed a $4,680 judgment issue against owners Roger and Tina Williams — who did not appear at the hearing — for the costs incurred by the Humane Society, including veterinary care during the animals’ impoundment, with payment to the Humane Society.

Appeal bond was set at $7,980.

An investigation continues as to the whereabouts of more than 100 animals that vanished overnight from the same address, preventing their seizure. Thirteen or 14 of those animals have been recovered from a well-kept kennel, according to Matt Anderson, an animal control officer with the Parker County Sheriff’s office.

During the hearing Anderson told Parker County Assistant Attorney Fred Barker that he was sent to Hide Away Lane Jan. 12 in response to a phone call reporting that more than 100 dogs were being kept in deplorable conditions.

Upon arriving Anderson, who used his cell phone to collect video footage, said he saw two kennels to the right of the front door, one with three Great Danes, the other with three Australian shepherds.

“The floor of the kennels were covered in feces and were damp,” he said. “There was no water, no food.”

Anderson said he could hear other dogs behind the house and saw 15 of them running loose inside. Feces and urine coated the floor.

“Is this the way a hoarder’s house looks?” Barker asked.

“Yes, sir,” Anderson responded.

The next day, Anderson said, he and supervisor Karen Kessler returned to the home and met with Roger Williams, who blamed the filthy conditions on his 20-year-old and 15-year-old sons, who had been tasked to do some cleaning while he and his wife were away for the weekend.

“My opinion is that it hadn’t been cleaned in a long time,” Anderson said. “We discussed with him that he had way too many dogs.”

Anderson said Williams showed him an expired breeder’s license.

“He claimed he was breeding Danes and Shepherds and said the others were ‘rescued,’” he said.

The third day, when he and Kessler returned with a seizure warrant and Humane Society staff, they discovered that about 120 dogs were missing. The remaining 33 animals — old, infirm, and some pregnant — were seized.

Four or five of the animals are in such bad condition that they may have to be euthanized after the appeals process is over, according to Tammy Roberts, of the Humane Society. One of them gave birth to puppies yesterday.

“Many are adoptable, many have severe medical conditions,” Roberts testified. “Several conditions stem from neglect, some from poor breeding. One has leg issues due to injuries. There is a bulldog in horrific condition.”

Kessler said no criminal charges have been filed at this time.

“This division’s job is to control and protect the animals,” Barker explained. “The criminal division will look at it and see if they can make a case, but on a neglect case, it’s iffy. A lot of people involved with this have serious mental issues.”

Barker said he doubts a civil appeal will be made.

“We’ve only had two appeals in the last 13 years,” he said. “They must post a bond, and most do not.”