Animal Cruelty

SPCA makes animal cruelty seizure from repeat offender in Balch Springs

SPCA makes animal cruelty seizure from repeat offender in Balch Spring

SPCA cat
One of the cats found at a house in Balch Springs. Photo courtesy of SPCA

On May 31, a large seizure of cruelly treated animals was made at a home in Balch Springs, from a woman who was found guilty for the same offense in 2015.

Under the authority of the Balch Springs Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office's Animal Cruelty Unit, the SPCA of Texas and Balch Springs Animal Services seized 107 cruelly treated animals that included 57 cats, 36 kittens, 11 dogs, two deceased cats, and one dove.

According to a release, the animals were taken to the SPCA's rescue center in Dallas, where they will be evaluated by medical staff before a custody hearing takes place. Necropsies will be performed on the deceased cats to determine cause of death.

Inside the house, located at 2612 Tamara Dr. in Balch Springs, cats and kittens were roaming in feces-filled, urine-soaked rooms. One cat was found confined to a small, glass fishtank. Two deceased cats were found on the floor.

More cats and kittens were found in a garage behind the house, many confined to feces-filled wire crates, with no access to food or water.

Several additional deceased cats and kittens were found wrapped in plastic grocery bags in an outdoor trash bin, but were too decomposed to remove for further examination.

Two dogs roamed the living room, but most of the dogs were confined to small, wire crates in a separate bedroom with little to no access to food or water.

The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level to be 45 parts per million (ppm) inside of the house and 65 ppm inside of the garage. Short-term exposure to ammonia levels over 20 ppm or long-term exposure to levels over 12 ppm can cause health problems in humans.

The animals appeared to be suffering from health issues, including fleas, long nails, eye discharge, and nasal discharge. The majority appeared to be significantly underweight. At least one cat was missing an eye, and one kitten had a bloody nose. Another kitten received emergency treatment at the scene.

Balch Springs Animals Services first contacted the SPCA on May 23, after receiving a tip that the property owner had several cats covered with urine and feces.

An SPCA of Texas cruelty investigator visited on May 29, and was unable to make contact, but a strong scent of feces and ammonia could be smelled from outside.

The house is owned by Ferrell Pritchett, who resides in Forney.

This is the second time the SPCA has made a seizure on the same house. In August 2015, they seized 156 cruelly treated animals from the property, including 107 cats (five deceased), 40 dogs, three doves, two chickens, one finch, one deceased parakeet, and one guinea pig.

Dozens more deceased animals were found on the property, so badly decomposed it was not possible to remove them. A 69-year-old woman was charged and pleaded guilty to cruelty to non-livestock animals, a Class A misdemeanor.

The tenant listed as living at the house is Grace Cox, who is currently 72 years old.

That 2015 arrest occurred only after the SPCA of Texas and the city of Balch Springs received multiple complaints of suspected animal cruelty at the property over a period of a few months. At the time, an SPCA spokesperson speculated that the woman's "heart may have started in the right place and it got to be overwhelming."

A custody hearing will be held on Thursday, June 7, at 11 am at the Dallas County Government Center, Precinct 1, Place 2, located at 107 Texas Street, Lancaster, the Honorable Valencia Nash presiding. Criminal charges are expected to be filed in this case.