LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas—Liberty County Sheriff’s deputies teamed with the Houston SPCA in a massive animal rescue in Dayton on Wednesday afternoon.
Nearly 150 dogs, cats and a horse were pulled from the 20-acre property located on County Road 6021.
The animals were being housed by Puppy Dogs R Us, an animal rescue and adoption agency that had attracted complaints from neighbors for years.
“You put up a fence so you don’t see it but you still have the animals coming through all the time," said Robin Summers who lives next door.
Authorities said fires were often set on the property to dispose of animal remains. They also said many of the animals were found to be living in filth.
“There’s a shed with kennels stacked on top," said SPCA Spokesperson Kerry McKeel. “Animals standing in their own feces. They’re on top of their kennels trying to stay out of mucky waters.”
The owners of Puppy Dogs R Us refused to comment, but investigators said their operation had clearly gotten too large.
“I don’t know if it was because of ill health or inability to support this many animals but the conditions back there are deplorable and I think it just became overwhelming,” said Captain Ken Defoor.
The animals were all placed in the care of the Houston SPCA. A team of veterinarians was examining the rescues one by one.
A hearing has been set for next Tuesday in Dayton to determine the ultimate fate of the animals.
In the meantime, neighbors celebrated the quiet and the lack of constant barking.
“It’s been like a glorious day,” said Brad Teeney. “I mean I took off two days of vacation.
“What we found today at this facility is unacceptable,” said Tara Yurkshat, vice president of animal welfare, Houston SPCA. “We have a large team of Houston SPCA responders on the ground to rescue these neglected animals who have clearly suffered by not receiving adequate care. We hope we are awarded custody so we can continue their journey towards health, happiness and finding them new homes.”
The animals were transported to Houston and are being cared for by the Houston SPCA's veterinary team.
The Houston SPCA is the largest non-profit, animal protection organization and shelter in the region with a highly-trained animal cruelty investigation team, which responds to more than 7,000 cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect each year.