Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spindletop Refuge - Texas

For updates join the Montgomery county Texas Canine Seizure page:  here

Questions swirling around Spindletop

By: John Woestendiek

At least 38 dogs entrusted to a Texas pit bull refuge whose mission was to provide them with care and find them new homes never came out, perishing instead from heat stroke, and being buried in a mass grave on the ranch.

Not too much news has been coming out of Spindletop Refuge in Willis, either.
Since authorities last week seized nearly 300 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and removed them from conditions generally described as cramped and unhealthy, there have been a lot more questions than answers.
On Friday, after hours of private negotiations, Spindletop owner Leah Purcell  agreed to relinquish ownership of the 287 dogs, and through her attorney, she agreed to terms prohibiting her from future rescue and boarding in the county.
That court action was related strictly to the custody of the dogs. No charges have yet been filed against Purcell, and there has been no clear word that they will be.
Instead, there are a heap of questions unanswered — most of them from rescue groups around the country that sent animals to Spindletop, and now want to find out if they’re still alive, and reclaim them if they are.
On top of that, there’s another all-important one — what led what was once such a highly respected refuge to end up keeping dogs in conditions more like those you’d find at a puppy mill or the home of a hoarder?
Members of at least  50 rescue groups attended a Friday custody hearing in Conroe, but it was behind closed doors that an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Purcell. Except for 11 dogs that belonged to her mother, she surrendered the rest, and custody was awarded to the Humane Society of the United States and Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a grand jury, also meeting behind closed doors, will decide whether Purcell will face criminal charges.
According to the Houston Press, several rescuers learned Friday then that the dogs they had surrendered to Spindletop — and were told had been adopted — died of heat stroke last summer.
“It was definitely not a sanctuary. Definitely not. Those dogs were left in a living hell,” said former Spindletop employee Brandon Louth, who says he’s the one who contacted authorities about conditions at the refuge.
Of the mass death he said, ”The dogs had suffocated, because the building was not ventilated. The electricity had gone off in the building, and basically I had to bury the dogs, put the dogs in sacks and dig a mass grave for them.”
Officials are still working to catalog all the rescued dogs, and were putting together a website where they’ll be posting photos of all of the dogs. The Animal Farm Foundation, which is helping coordinate the effort, said this week on its Facebook page that approximately 40 dogs have been claimed and returned to owners or places of origin, or will be in the next few days.
They advise those seeking dogs that were in Spindletop’s care to:
“If you have not already done so, please send extremely detailed information about dogs you wish to reclaim to info@animalfarmfoundation.org and to Constable Tim Holifield at tim.holifield@mctx.org . Include a phone number and an email address. Put the word SPINDLETOP in the subject line. Animal Farm Foundation is coordinating the communication with owners and places of origin and schedules appointments for reclaiming dogs.”
At Friday’s court hearing, Montgomery County Constable Tim Holifield assured the crowd that the animals were being well cared for and that the Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Spindletop seizure, is committed to not euthanizing any of the dogs..."  More

July 23, 2012:  A Rescue in Name Only: Nearly 500 Dogs Rescued from Dire Circumstances Last Week click: here


Constable Hollifield who is over Montgomery County Animal Control assisted by Precinct 4 Constables, Precinct 1 Constables, Harris County Precinct 6 Constables and the United State Humane Society earlier Tuesday served a search warrant on a Dog Rescue on Calvary Road in North Montgomery County.

After meeting with the owner and checking the property it was determined that over three hundred dogs needed to be seized. due to conditions they were living in. Almost all of the dogs which many are Pit Bulls are in small crates and cages, all sleeping in urine and feces. Vets are on the scene supervising the removal from at least five buildings on the property. One of those buildings, a two story home houses almost eighty dogs.

The dogs are going to be taken to an undisclosed location to be evaluated by vets and then a determination will be made from there as what will happen to the dogs. They are hoping most can be adopted out across the nation...."  More & video (skip ahead to the 20min mark for interviews)

From the "Animal Farm Foundation" Facebook page:

Animal Farm Foundation is assisting with the alleged hoarding case at Spindletop Refuge in Montgomery County, Texas. The property was raided yesterday and conditions for the 300+ dogs kept there were determined to be unsafe, despite the ref...uge's efforts to adequately provide for the dogs' health, well-being, and basic necessities.

Right now local authorities in Texas are working alongside the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and veterinarians to remove each dog from the property, transfer them to a safe location, and provide the emergency medical attention that many of them desperately needed.

We share HSUS's goal of ensuring the best possible outcome for each of the dogs, and we're grateful that HSUS stepped up to oversee a humane and just outcome for all of these dogs. Once the dogs have been triaged at an undisclosed safe location, Animal Farm Foundation will work with HSUS to individually evaluate each dog for rescue or adoption placement.

We understand that many individuals, shelters, and rescue groups have transferred dogs to Spindletop Refuge and will want to know the status of those dogs and learn how to retrieve them, if possible. Animal Farm Foundation will be coordinating those efforts and will make that information available as soon as possible. A court hearing will take place soon, at which point we expect to have more details. You can also contact us any time at info@animalfarmfoundation.org.

If you are interested in opening up your agency or rescue to any of these dogs or if you are looking for a dog who was sent to Spindletop Refuge please contact us at info@animalfarmfoundation.org. The dogs are depending on all of us to be their voice, so thank you to all the groups who are collaborating to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved.

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