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June 22, 2013

Authorities seize more animals in county

Animal welfare officials joined Hunt County law enforcement officers Friday in seizing seven animals from inside of a residence near Caddo Mills.

The SPCA of Texas, Hunt County Constable Precinct 1 Terry Jones, deputies with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and investigator Mike Pierce with the Hunt County Attorney’s Office seized five dogs and two kittens from the home on Brookview Circle, the same location where authorities removed 48 animals last September. As was the case last fall, the animals seized today were allegedly living inside the home.

“We hit that same house again this morning,” Jones said, adding that the issue this time around was not the number of animals, but the conditions inside the residence. “The house was in very terrible shape. The smell and the filth was terrible.”

Jones said he obtained an evidentiary search warrant from the residence from 196th District Judge Steve Tittle, after the owner of the residence had previously refused investigators access, following several complaints to the SPCA of Texas.

Jones said the owner of the home greeted investigators with a loaded handgun and was arrested on one count of animal cruelty.

“He had a loaded pistol at his side,” Jones said.

The name of the individual was not immediately released, as he had not yet been arraigned on the charge as of Friday evening.

“It is not just about feeding the animals,” Jones said. “It was just terrible living conditions.”

The same officers seized 45 dogs Tuesday morning from a south Hunt County residence. Jones said his office and the SPCA have been receiving multiple complaints in recent weeks of alleged animal cruelty at several locations in the county.

“That is why this is happening now,” Jones said, adding that additional seizure actions are expected in the near future.

The SPCA of Texas transported the animals seized Friday to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, where they are being examined by medical staff and will be cared for until a custody hearing.

The custody hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. next Friday at the office of Hunt County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 1 Sheila Linden, 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.

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