HOUSTON—An upscale neighborhood in Tomball is the last place you’d expect to see dozens of dogs being removed from inside a home with deplorable conditions. But much like a book and its cover, you can’t judge a house by its façade.
"We wouldn’t have believed it if we hadn’t seen it," said neighbor Teresa Young.
The first sign of trouble came earlier this week when 40 dogs escaped from a fire inside the home.
"They were just running around, and we were trying to round up as many as we could," said Young. "The neighbor across the street has been boarding them in tents at her house."
They called for help and the SPCA sent a rescue team to the home Thursday morning. They removed nearly 100 dogs, most of them Shih Tzus. Some of them had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Somewhere along the way, the dog owners had crossed a line from dog breeders to dog hoarders.
"It happens very often in breeding," said Teresa Osborn, of Lone Star Shih Tzu Rescue. "They just get overwhelmed. There were two of them. They can’t take care of 100 dogs."
Given the condition of the dogs, that’s an understatement.
"They’ve basically just been running around in feces in urine," said Osborn. "And they were covered in fleas. It causes a lot of hair loss. It causes infections. There’s a lot of them with eye ulcers. Their nails are overgrown."
The owners have agreed to give up custody to the SPCA and won’t face charges.
The dogs are being treated and evaluated by SPCA veterinarians. Some of the dogs may need to be placed in foster care before they can be adopted. If you’d like to provide a foster home, visit houstonspca.org for more information.