East Texas man arrested for leaving dogs out in freezing weather to die
In another case of animal cruelty in Van Zandt County, 60 miles east of Dallas, the SPCA of Texas rescued 10 dogs that were left out during the cold freeze on January 16, and arrested the owner.
The SPCA and the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office removed the dogs from a property near Wills Point on January 16 at approximately 6 pm. The temperature was 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
They found six confined to kennels; three of those six had died. Four other dogs were running loose outside in the freezing cold.
Investigators were not able to locate any food and all water was frozen solid.
The caretaker of the dogs, identified as James Henry Eubanks, was not present.
The SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit worked quickly in the dark to remove the surviving dogs and transport them to the SPCA of Texas’ facility in Dallas.
The dogs were warmed and started on starvation and dehydration protocols under the care of the SPCA of Texas forensic veterinarian.
Necropsies were performed on the three deceased dogs. Preliminary findings showed that they suffered from starvation and dehydration, and succumbed to their conditions in the freezing temperatures without adequate protection from the elements.
On January 19, the SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit and Van Zandt County Constable Pct 3 found Eubanks travelling by foot in a nearby neighborhood. He was arrested and charged with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals.
Mugshot of James Henry Eubanks, arrested for leaving dogs out in freezing weather. Why do they always look like this?SPCA
According to the Texas Penal Code 42.092 (Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals), a person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal. An offense of this nature is a felony of the third degree.
The SPCA of Texas became involved in the case of alleged animal cruelty after receiving a complaint from a concerned citizen about dogs suffering in the cold with possible deceased dogs on scene.
“Unfortunately, this is a perfect example of what can happen when an animal is left outside in freezing cold temperatures,” said SPCA of Texas Chief Investigator, Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit Courtney Burns, CAWA. “However, in this extreme case, we do not know how long these beautiful dogs were left alone to suffer, and in some cases, to die. It breaks our hearts that these dogs suffered so greatly."
“These freezing temperatures can be lethal to animals,” Burns stressed. “We urge pet owners to make arrangements to ensure that their pets are safe and warm as temperatures drop. Failure to do so will result in consequences and we will pursue the prosecution of these cases to the fullest extent the law allows."
Van Zandt County has had numerous instances of animal cruelty such as the 2018 incident in Canton in which more than 50 horses were found dead; and the November 2023 suspension of Lone Star Dairy, also in Wills Point and the largest organic dairy in North Texas, following allegations of animal cruelty.
The SPCA of Texas has Memoranda of Understanding to support animal cruelty investigations in Hunt and Van Zandt Counties.