DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The SPCA of Texas seized 72 allegedly cruelly treated dogs and puppies from an alleged puppy mill—including 12 deceased animals—from a property in Canton.
They were taken to the organization's Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center where medical staff is examining and caring for the fur babies until a custody hearing takes place.
Many of the dogs and puppies were found in living in feces-filled wire crates without access to food or water. In one room, several nursing mothers with litters of puppies were found confined in small, plastic and wire crates in a closet. Other dogs roamed the urine-soaked, feces-filled house with little to no access to food or water. The twelve deceased animals, including one adult dog and eleven puppies, were found individually wrapped in plastic bags in the kitchen freezer.
The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level in the residence to be 22 parts per million (ppm). As a point of reference, 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 animals appear to be suffering from various health issues, including fur loss, long nails, eye issues, ear issues, matted fur and more.
The animal owner told investigators know that they were selling the dogs for profit. All large-scale animal breeders in Texas are required by law to be licensed and inspected on a regular basis. It is unclear at this point if the animal owner is properly licensed.
The Texas puppy mill bill, known as the Large-Scale Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Bill, took effect on September 1, 2012. It provides guidelines for the treatment of animals in large-scale commercial breeding operations in Texas, defined as breeders who keep 11 or more breeding females or sell 20 or more puppies or kittens a year. The law specifies that certain parameters exist for such animals, including feeding, space, shelter, ventilation and medical care, and is administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The SPCA of Texas' Animal Cruelty Investigators received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty from another animal welfare organization on March 1st regarding an alleged puppy mill. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators visited the property that same day, but were not able to make contact with the owner. On Tuesday, March 13th, the Investigators returned to the property, when they witnessed the animals' conditions. The SPCA of Texas' Investigators and the Van Zandt County Constable's Office, Pct. 2 concurred that it was in the animals' best interest to seize them, took the information to a judge and the judge granted a search and seizure warrant.
A custody hearing will be held on Friday, March 23 at 10 a.m. at the Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Courthouse at 250 E. Grove St., Canton, TX, 75103, the Honorable Judge Sandra Plaster presiding.
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