Early Wednesday morning, Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies working with the Houston S.P.C.A and armed with an animal seizure warrant issued out of Justice of the Peace Judge Larry Wilburn’s Pct. 4 court seized over 150 abused dogs, cats and one horse from a self-described animal rescue organization located on CR 6021 in west Liberty County. The facility known as “Puppy-Dogs-R-Us” sits on a 20 acre site with both the residence and several storage buildings filled with dogs in pet crates stacked four carriers high. Several of the dogs were found outside in wet and muddy pens with no cover or shelter of any kind while at least six cats were found in carriers in a dark building. The land owner told investigators that some of these dogs that were in buildings have not been seen by them in at least three weeks.
Both the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and Houston S.P.C.A have been involved in an ongoing investigation of Puppy-Dogs-R-Us since 2009 with several warnings being issued to correct the conditions that existed at the facility. Some were, in fact, corrected but upon a follow-up check there would be other and new violations that needed to be corrected. This continued until numerous and more recent reports and complaints from citizens in the area again began to report numerous issues that appeared to be non-compliance with state animal welfare requirements. These repeated violations resulted in the owners being served a civil seizure warrant earlier this morning and the Houston S.P.C.A. assisting with the removal of all animals, evidence collection, transport, sheltering and medical care for the over 150 animals that had been virtually abandoned inside structures on the outskirts of the property without food, clean water, care or human interaction for weeks.
Preliminary investigation indicates that several of the animals are suffering from untreated medical issues and after being removed from the facility, the Houston S.P.C.A. will evaluate, vaccinate and treat their medical needs as well as check for micro-chips to see if any of the dogs have been reported lost or stolen. The S.P.C.A will continue to care for the animals until a permanent custody hearing is held on Tuesday, January 10 at 1:pm at the Dayton Annex Court of Judge Wilburn. This will determine if the animals are returned to the owners of the facility or awarded to the Houston S.P.C.A.
Lead Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. James Sprayberry said it was found that at least 15 dogs were also being boarded at this location and he advised anyone who may have boarded their dog or cat at this facility to attend the court hearing on January 10th. with proof of ownership and request that their pet be returned to them by the court. Owners should know they will not be able to contact the S.P.C.A. to pick up an animal in Houston until the court awards custody and then only if custody is awarded to the Houston S.P.C.A.
Sheriff’s Animal Control Deputy Linda Bloomingdale was quoted as saying that this seizure is the largest single abused animal seizure in Liberty County in memory and she has been involved in this field for over eleven years. Dep. Bloomingdale further stated that the public should know the Sheriff’s Office will aggressively pursue all alleged animal cruelty cases and will file abuse charges when the circumstances calls for it regardless if it’s one animal or several such as this case. No charges have been filed as of this date and any possible criminal charges are presently pending.