Mar 4, 2010: Seized animals to remain with SPCA
By: Daniel Armbruster
Sixty four animals were seized from Brenda Neely's 501 Rescue Shelter on her private property last month. Authorities say they discovered them to be malnourished and sick. There were also skeletal remains of others. The animals, in SPCA custody, range from dogs to horses, small mammals, reptiles and a bird.
Thursday morning, Neely was at the Fannin County Court House for a hearing to determine if the SPCA would keep the animals. Many packed the courtroom to make sure Neely didn't get custody.
"She said that she wanted the dog. I thought that that would be the best place for the dog. I was under the assumption that she would have a good home out in the country," said Lisa Palevo, a former client.
Lisa Palevo said she thought she was giving her dog a good home when she turned it over to Neely, but months later when she asked about what happened to the dog, Palevo said she couldn't get a straight answer.
"I would just like to know how my dog is. If she's alive or if she's dead. If she is alive, I would like her back so I can find her a good home," said Palevo.
Not everyone is against Neely though. Camille Snider said she met Neely in January 2010. Snider said she witnessed Neely save an animal that she personally took to her.
"She not only cured Scout, that was the dog’s name, but she has him living on a 70 anchor ranch," said Snider.
Snider said she feels there's more behind Neely's case that many don't know about.
"It's pretty one sided at one point and I hope all of this comes out. I hope the truth comes out, because I know she has a good heart," said Snider.
Snider and Neely's defense attorney, Bob Jarvis, argue many of the animals in Neely's care may have already been sick when they arrived.
(Jarvis)"When they come to a shelter. They're generally not in good health in the first place," said Bob Jarvis. "(Armbruster) Are you saying that more than 60 animals were dropped off sick?" (Jarvis) Well I can't get into the specifics but most people don't drop off healthy animals to the shelter. There's usually something wrong with the animals, said Jarvis."
The S-P-C-A said Neely neglected the animals and they're satisfied that today, before the hearing began, an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Neely. The animals will stay where they are and are officially the property of the SPCA..." More & video
Feb 24, 2010: 20 dead animals found, others seized from shelter
When the SPCA rescue team arrived at Neely's Pet Place, they expected to find some thin and possibly sick animals. What they discovered was far worse.
"The heartbreaking discovery today was actually twenty deceased animals. One dead horse, that is actually just a
Many of the animals appeared to be suffering from skin diseases and mange. Some were emaciated, and many tied up without access to fresh water or food.
Just a year and a half ago, KXII visited Brenda Neely's Pet Place, when she took in 75 abandoned puppies found on the side of a road near Courtney, Oklahoma.
In August 2008, Brenda Neely, said, "Look at their faces, how can you tell them no. How can you not care? I mean these guys didn't deserve what they got put through. And we just want to make sure that never happens again."
But according to Neely's neighbor, Dee Barber, the conditions on Neely's property were far from ideal for those rescued puppies, and for the rest of the animals she kept there.
"One day I came by here and there was one laying here by their dumpster, dead. The others had sores all over them. Malnutrition. It was just an awful site to see everyday," Barber, said.
Maura Davies says the SPCA is involved in about 25 seizures a year. But, in all her time with the organization, she's never seen anything quite like this..." More & video