FLOWER MOUND — It was 1:19 a.m. Tuesday when the call came in: A pack of dogs was running loose at U.S. 377 and Stonecrest Road in Flower Mound.
"When I arrived, they were near the railroad tracks and real close to 377," said Flower Mound Animal Services Supervisor Trae Malone. "There were pretty much dogs from Stonecrest all the way to the end. And we went one-by-one until we got them."
A police cruiser recorded video of the roundup, which lasted for hours. By the time all was said and done, 51 Maltese pups had been rescued.
It was quite clear they had been living in filth.
"They are relatively healthy, other than the condition of their coat, which is covered in dirt and feces," said Flower Mound police Capt. Richard Brooks.
Malone estimates no one had cleaned their cages, bathed them, or brushed them for at least six months.
At around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, the same scenario played out. Someone dumped 40 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and one Cocker Spaniel at the corner of Huling and Lois roads, northwest of Sanger — about 30 miles north of the site in Flower Mound.
Sanger called the Humane Society of North Texas, in Fort Worth, to help out.
"They're in pretty rough shape," said the Humane Society's Peggy Brown. "Dirty, stinky, matted... some have eye problems. They need some TLC and some care."
A new law took effect September 1 in Texas. The state began requiring breeders to obtain a license by undergoing inspection.
"If their breeding operation is not within the guidelines, then they wouldn't be issued a license, wouldn't have the ability to sell the dogs," said Brooks, "so we believe this release of the animals was to avoid that."
"It appears to be a breeding operation where someone decided to get out of the business and get rid of the dogs," Brown added.
She stressed that dumping dogs is illegal. Two animal cruelty investigations are under way, but detectives know the cases are likely linked, Brown said.
"I don't know if it's the same one, but it's a pretty big coincidence if not," she added.
The Humane Society is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever dumped the Spaniels.
Flower Mound is urging anyone with information to call detectives. "We're gonna prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," Brooks said.
Anonymous tips to Flower Mound can be phoned in at 972-874-3307. The Flower Mound Police non-emergency number is 972-539-0525.
Both sets of dogs will likely be available for adoption next week. After October 8, call 972-874-6390 for information about the Maltese dogs in Flower Mound.
Flower Mound's shelter is now almost full. Donations of food for dogs and cats, money, or Kuranda dog beds are being requested.