Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fit for neither man nor beast

In response to complaints from neighbors that the noise and stench at a Utopia property were worsening, Bandera County Animal Control launched the largest seizure it has yet undertaken. With the help of 15 volunteers from varied rescue organizations, 43 dogs and two cats were taken into custody on Monday. Also discovered during the raid was a small child, sleeping in the midst of what witnesses described as deplorable.

"Filthy would be an understatement," Bandera County Animal Control Liaison Jennifer Gaertner said.

Gaertner said that authorities secured a warrant signed by Justice of the Peace Lynn Holt and headed toward the Utopia residence at 9 a.m. on Nov. 23. Between two mobile homes on approximately 10 acres, Gaertner said the dogs, all different varieties of miniature dachshund, were housed in inhumane conditions.

"The dog houses were made of pressed wood with no bottoms... there was no place for the dogs to get off of the wet ground," Gaertner said, who further described partitions separated by bare ground wire fencing with two to six dogs per run.

Gaertner said the inside of the houses were cluttered, unkempt and littered with animal feces and urine. An elderly couple reportedly lives in one of the homes, while a younger couple lives in the other with four children. Authorities alerted Child Protective Services, who removed a 3-year-old girl immediately, as well as her three siblings who were at school during the animal seizure. According to Director of Law Enforcement Richard Smith, the children were placed with their grandparents in Utopia on a safety plan..." More