Days after the largest animal seizure over allegations of abuse in Liberty County history, a judge has ordered the animals returned to the very same place from which they were rescued.
A judge in Dayton tossed out the case after it was shown that the search warrant prepared by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office contained the wrong address.
The judge gave the Houston SPCA 24 hours to return the animals to Puppy Dogs R Us, the animal rescue and adoption agency that had long been the focus of neighborhood complaints.
"Well I don't really like it,” said Mary Killen, who lives one street over from the 20-acre property. "I don't like to listen to them 24/7. I really don't."
Amando Espinosa lives a few houses down.
“It’s too much,” Espinosa said. “It’s no good.”
Officials with the Houston SPCA expressed disappointment with the judge’s ruling. The dogs and cats were found in wire crates stacked on top of each other and were trying to escape their own waste, according to the SPCA.
"The animals that came to us were in desperate need of treatment,” said SPCA Spokesperson Kerry McKeel. “There was anemia. They had fractures. They had skin conditions. They weren't receiving the proper veterinary care."
A volunteer who answered the door at Puppy Dogs R Us said the owners were delighted by the judge’s decision and looked forward to getting the animals back.
"We believe that their hearts were in the right place and they believed they were serving an important need for that community,” McKeel said.
Some neighbors hoped things would be different this time around.
"I mean I don't mind buying food if they're going to clean those cages and keep them dogs quiet,” Killen said.
Both the SPCA and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office vowed to closely monitor the conditions at Puppy Dogs R Us in the coming weeks and months.