Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dogs Rescued From Alleged Puppy Mill Taken To Houston

James E. Van Winkle hasn’t pulled out his checkbook yet, but the disabled veteran from Elm Mott was dealt a setback Wednesday in his attempt to appeal a judge’s order that he pay thousands to help care for neglected animals seized from his property.

McLennan County Sheriff’s Office investigators seized 78 dogs from Van Winkle’s property in May, citing neglect and “deplorable” conditions. Van Winkle has since been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and ordered by Justice of the Peace Kristi DeCluitt to pay about $6,200 to the Waco Humane Society to help defray its costs to care for the dogs for about a week until other arrangements were made.

On Wednesday, retired State District Judge Derwood Johnson ruled that there was not jurisdiction in county court-at-law for Van Winkle to appeal DeCluitt’s order because her order is not appealable under the Health and Safety Code.

“Mr. Van Winkle’s a long way from writing a check,” his attorney, Tom Ragland, said after the ruling went against them. “There is a good probability that we will appeal this to the 10th Court of Appeals, but we will have to go back and discuss what to do next.”

In June, Van Winkle filed a writ of mandamus, asking the higher court to order DeCluitt to allow him to appeal her ruling. Instead, Van Winkle and the district attorney’s office struck an agreement under which DeCluitt issued an appeal bond to allow him to appeal.

Despite the agreement, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Clark argued Wednesday that the Health and Safety Code precludes Van Winkle from appealing DeCluitt’s order, adding that the state never agreed that county court-at-law has jurisdiction over the matter..." More

5/11/2009: Dogs Rescued From Alleged Puppy Mill Taken To Houston

Reporter: By Paul J. Gately

WACO, TX—Thirty-two of the of 78 dogs and puppies awarded to the Waco HumaneSociety after they were seized from an alleged McLennan County puppy mill have been shipped to Houston to another animal shelter.

The 36 dogs that remain in Waco will eventually be made available for adoption, once veterinarians pronounce them healthy and they’ve been retrained, a shelter spokeswoman said Monday....

The Waco shelter was stretched to bursting by the large influx of animals from the alleged puppy mill, but almost as many animals—62—came in from various sources over the past weekend...

James Van Winkle, the former owner of the dogs, was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals.

He was later released on $10,000 bond.

Late Friday morning, McLennan County Justice of the Peace Kristi Decluitt ruled that the 78 dogs seized in what a sheriff’s official described as “one of the worst cases of animal cruelty we’ve seen in this county in a long time” should be given to a nonprofit animal shelter, the Waco Humane Society or a society for the protection of animals.

DeCluitt also ordered the dogs’ owners, Van Winkle and Barbara Mitchell, to pay court costs and $6,240 for the care and feeding the animals have required since they were seized..." More

May 8, 2009: Owner Of Seized Dogs Arrested