Johnson County Sheriff Responds To Animal Cruelty Complaint
On January 18, 2022 the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office received a walk-in complaint of possible animal cruelty at 6221 Main Street in Mansfield, Texas. This complaint indicated there were multiple dogs on the property that were tethered by chains, without adequate shelter, and no food or water.
On January 20, 2022 an additional complaint was made concerning the dogs not having food, water, or adequate shelter. There was also a complaint made concerning the owner of the dogs being a breeder. The complainant was provided contact information to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to file a complaint concerning the dog breeding. A Deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office conducted an on-site inspection of the property. At that time multiple violations were discovered and citations were issued for non-compliance with state law concerning unlawful restraint of dogs. The dogs on the property were found to have adequate water and the owner showed dog food on the property.
On January 26, 2022 an additional on-site inspection was conducted and it was discovered that there were still multiple violations that were not corrected. Additional citations were issued for non-compliance.
On January 27, 2022 another on-site inspection was conducted and violations were discovered. Citations were issued for observed violations.
On January 30, 2022 Deputies responded to a complaint of harassment at 6221 Main Street in Mansfield, Texas. The owner reported being harassed by an animal rights group. A criminal trespass warning was issued to two male subjects for the property at the request of the property owner, no arrest for criminal trespass was made.
Last Inspections 2/1 & 2/4/2022
During our last site inspections on February 1st and 4th, 2022 there were igloo and dog house style dog houses for each dog with cedar shavings and hay for bedding. There were secondary shelters which are A-frame plywood style structures as seen in the photographs below. All the dogs were observed to be off chains and are now on cable type tethers that meet the requirements of the State of Texas. Paperwork was shown to the investigator that shows one dog is under veterinary care. Another dog is being provided wound care and antibiotics in accordance with the Veterinarians recommendation.
The owner was providing fresh water several times a day due to the low temperature and that all dogs were off chains and tethered by cable type devices that meet the new State requirements. The Deputies also verified that the dogs were being fed.
There have been several photos and videos that have come to our attention. The first is of a dog skeleton being held up with a tether around its neck. That picture was not taken at this property. The second is a picture of a dog with a dilapidated dog house. That picture was not taken on this property. The Video in question is of a dog being made to swim. This video was taken in Arlington at a lake and has been reported to the City of Arlington for further investigation.
There is one video that has been posted on social media showing an individual striking and throwing a dog to the ground. A subject has been identified in this incident and it is being investigated at this time. None of the people in the mentioned video are believed to be the dog’s owner. The owner is cooperating with the investigation.
There have also been numerous allegations made on social media of dog-fighting occurring on the property. There has been no evidence to support this. There was video of a dog breaking loose from a tether and getting into a fight with another dog, however the law requires the owner to intentionally or to knowingly cause this to happen. At the time of the fight the owners were not home.
Anyone with videos or photos of animal cruelty or any other violations is encouraged to personally bring those photos or videos to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Videos on social media cannot be used as evidence. All videos and photos must be authenticated to be used as evidence.
Many calls have been made to the City of Mansfield regarding this matter and it should be noted that this is not within the Mansfield City limits. It is in unincorporated Johnson County and the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for dealing with this situation and must do so without the advantage of city ordinances. When dealing with these issues in the unincorporated areas, our deputies only have limited laws mandated by the State. We have enforced all of these laws according to state guidelines and at this time the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has not found the justification required to seize these animals.
The comments on the Johnson County Sheriff’s page show how outraged animal advocates are about the situation and the response.
SMASH-Supporting Mansfield Animal Shelter shared the following response on Facebook:
“Listen, I hope you will reach out to your state representative and demand that they change the animal welfare laws. I also hope you continue to put the pressure on the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to not only show up to all ( all ) of these animal welfare situations they have out there, but to also get a local animal control in place. They are hard core on crime, but it feels like they are completely lawless when it comes to animal welfare. There seems to be a major miss in the empathy/compassion department when the goal is to protect.
The decision was made several times to allow this situation to become compliant and ultimately continue. If you don’t like how this played out, use your voice. If you don’t agree with this form of protection, use your voice. What are your expectations of your elected officials? If the laws aren’t set in a way that protects the animals, use your voice.
As a side note, I understand the confusion with Mansfield, I really do. I’ll tell you what though, our shelter has taken a misdirected beating over this for quite some time now. Our shelter manager, specifically. I’m proud of people for standing up, but please do me a favor and correct people when they target our shelter in this.
I really do hope this whole situation brings change to Johnson County. It’s been a long time coming. I hope these pups get the help they need.”