Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunnyvale store owner gets custody of most animals seized in SPCA raid


GARLAND – Both Sunnyvale feed store owner Earnest Kearney and SPCA of Texas officials claimed victory Friday, after a day of testimony and a split decision from District 2 Justice of the Peace Gerry Cooper.

Kearney will regain 256 animals taken in a raid by the SPCA and Dallas County constables on Oct. 6. Those include rabbits, horses, sheep and other livestock.

"It's a little victory," he said. "Those are our good animals. You'd spend 30 years getting some of those."

However, the 76-year-old owner of Kearney's Store will forfeit 130 chickens and pigeons also taken and $12,000 the SPCA spent in the investigation, seizure, housing and medical costs. And Kearney still faces Class A misdemeanor charges of cruelty to livestock animals.

"The judge determined that 130 animals were cruelly treated," said Ann Barnes, senior vice president of operations for the SPCA of Texas. Those animals, she said, would spend more time in rehabilitation before the organization sought homes for them.

Kearney will have the remainder of his animals back by Tuesday afternoon, according to the agreement..." More

Oct 7, 2009: Community Rallies Around Seized Animals' Owners

By John Knicely

A day after hundreds of head of livestock were seized from Kearney's Store in Sunnyvale, some in the community are rallying to get the animals back. The SPCA says the animals were abused, but the Kearney family and their supporters say those claims are unsubstantiated.

The SPCA hauled off 400 horses, cows, chickens and other animals on Tuesday after obtaining a warrant to seize all the animals on the property. The SPCA sayd it had been getting complaints about the store since 2005.

On Tuesday well-respected businessman and former Sunnyvale City Councilman Earnest Kearney was arrested for cruelty to animals.

"Never been in a jail in my whole life," Kearney said on Wednesday. "That was a new experience for an old man."..." More & video

Oct 6, 2009: Animals seized from Sunnyvale feed store


SUNNYVALE — Kearney's Feed Store has been in business in Sunnyvale for more than 100 years. But on Tuesday, its owner was arrested and the SPCA of Texas hauled away his livestock.

Earnest Kearney, 76, faces charges of cruelty to animals for keeping them in "deplorable" and "cruel" conditions.

Hundreds of animals — including horses, poultry, llamas and goats — were seized and taken into protective custody by the SPCA of Texas under the authority of Dallas County constables.

They say the animals at the feed store have been living under an abusive situation for years. It is alleged that the animals have been cruelly confined, drinking water contaminated with feces.

"Those businesses or individuals that profit through the sale of animals need to understand that the cruelty laws apply to them as well," said SPCA of Texas President James Bias. "If these animals are found to be in an abusive situation, they can face not only having those animals removed, but also criminal charges..." More