Lancaster Judge To Hear Animal Cruelty Case
LANCASTER—This week, the SPCA of Texas, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Animal Services seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 19 allegedly cruelly treated dogs from a property in the 1000 block of Hidden Valley Drive in South Central Dallas. The animals seized include 15 live dogs and four deceased dogs. Ten of the live dogs and the four deceased dogs were seized yesterday and five of the live dogs were seized today.
The live dogs have all been transported to the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas, where they will be cared for and evaluated by medical staff before a custody hearing takes place. The custody hearing will be held at the Dallas County Government Center Precinct 1, Place 2 at 107 Texas Street, Lancaster, TX 75146, the Honorable Judge Valencia Nash presiding.
Of the living dogs, six were found in the backyard. Five dogs were found inside the house in individual crates. Three of the dogs were found inside the garage of the house. The remaining dog was found inside a crate on the front porch. Two of the deceased dogs were found in the garage and two were found in the backyard, one inside a dog igloo and the other inside a large trash can. None of the deceased dogs were visible from outside the property.
The animals appear to be suffering from various health issues, including long nails, malnourishment and fly strike. One of the live dogs is emaciated, one is thin and all of the other live dogs are slightly underweight.
In April of 2018, Dallas Animal Services picked up a dog running at large near the Hidden Valley Drive property and asked the SPCA of Texas to review the dog’s condition. There was no evidence at that time to indicate any violation to the Texas State Animal Cruelty Statute, and no case of animal cruelty was opened with the SPCA of Texas.
The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty at the Hidden Valley Drive property from Dallas Animal Services on Friday, September 7, 2018 and SPCA of Texas Investigators visited the property right away. Dallas Animal Services called the SPCA of Texas to take on this investigation pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the SPCA of Texas and the Dallas Police Department designed to help bring perpetrators of animal cruelty to justice.
During yesterday’s visit, the SPCA of Texas’ Investigators observed that the conditions of the animals in plain sight were in violation of Texas State Animal Cruelty Statue. The SPCA of Texas then sought and obtained a civil seizure warrant and executed that warrant immediately. This civil warrant allowed the Investigators access to the property and any areas not secured by locks in order to seize any animal in plain sight.
Investigators tried to gain access to the residence on the property, but all doors and windows were securely locked and Investigators were unable to see inside the house from outside. A separate warrant, an evidentiary criminal search warrant, was necessary to gain access to the locked house, and the SPCA of Texas Investigator contacted a District Judge last night and presented the evidence obtained yesterday to that judge this morning. Based on the evidence, the District Judge signed an evidentiary criminal search warrant and the SPCA of Texas immediately served that warrant, gained access to the interior of the house and seized the remaining five dogs.
The SPCA of Texas is currently working to identify the dog owner and plans on pursuing criminal charges.