On July 23, under the authority of the Hunt County constable, the SPCA of Texas seized 222 animals from Frank Barchard Memorial Shelter that were alleged to be cruelly neglected. The animals included 166 dogs, 43 cats, 14 kittens and 13 puppies; two kittens, one cat and one puppy were found dead.
The shelter is located in Wolfe City, which is 60 miles northeast of Dallas. Many of the animals were cruelly confined in kennels, pens and other enclosures, both outdoors and inside two buildings.
One building without air conditioning contained 89 animals. One three-level wire cage encrusted in feces held 15 cats. The deceased puppy was found in a kennel filled with feces, along with a second puppy that was still alive. Dozens of dogs were found living in groups in several pens inside this building.
The other building, which smelled of ammonia, had air conditioning and contained 26 animals in various rooms and cages. More than 100 dogs were found living in groups in several feces-filled pens outside.
According to the SPCA, many of the animals were suffering from open wounds, eye discharge, nasal discharge, hair loss, open surgery incisions, matted hair, tick infestation, long nails and other issues. Some were underweight; some were missing eyes.
The seizure follows an investigation that took almost a year to complete. On July 16, SPCA investigators and the Hunt County Constable visited the property to conduct an inspection. They determined that it was in the animals' best interest to obtain a warrant and remove them immediately.
The animals were taken to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, to be cared for until the custody hearing. The hearing takes place July 31 at the Hunt County Justice Center in Greenville, with Judge Sheila Linden presiding.
If the SPCA of Texas is awarded final custody, the animals will be evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case-by-case basis.