Vigilante mails hoax letter to pet owners

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by Shern-min Chow / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 11:00 PM

ROSENBURG, Texas -- Someone was targeting local pet owners with a pretty strange hoax: letters supposedly sent by the Humane Society accusing them of neglect or abuse.

Now the Houston Humane Society is stepping in to clear its name.

The Nugents in Rosenberg is just one family on their street who got the letter. The extended family has 7 dogs in all. Most of them are rescues.

“All of my dogs are family. They are very, very well loved,” Sean Nugent said. “They got shade bowls, water, and I clean their kennel every other day.”

He was shocked when he got a letter, apparently from the Houston Humane Society accusing him neglect.

“It’s like someone saying I’m not taking care of my family,” Nugent said. I spend a small fortune every year on my dogs for shots for checkups.”

Nugent was furious. He phoned the Humane Society only to find out the letter wasn’t from the agency.

“The Houston Humane Society never mails out a letter in response to an animal cruelty complaint,” said Monica Schmidt of the Houston Humane Society. “Each investigation is handled in person.”

In fact, the Society contracts with Precinct 6 so a uniformed deputy constable in a marked patrol car will investigate complaints.

The Humane Society said it knows of more than a dozen letters sent to pet owners, but who is sending them?

“We're not really sure if it’s someone trying to be a good Samaritan. We don't know if it’s someone, maybe an animal vigilante acting on their own,” Schmidt said.

The Nugents have another theory, figuring it’s not an animal lover. “It’s an animal hater,” Nugent said. “Somebody just trying to wreak havoc.”

They fear some pet owners won’t take the time to investigate and will just get rid of their pets. In fact the phony letter even said if they believe there is animal cruelty they can remove the animals. Nugent worried he was being falsely accused. “We thought we might have to move cause we’re not getting rid of our dog -- they’re our kids,” Nugent said.

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