Settlement reached in case involving dogs removed from home
Breeder voluntarily relinquishes canines to SPCA

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 19, 2004 -- A civil settlement was reached between the Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals of Texas and a Hopkins County dog breeder in connection with two dozen dogs that were removed from the woman's residence one week ago.

"They settled out of court and turned the dogs over to SPCA," said Hopkins County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Anderson Thursday afternoon.

According to Hopkins County Attorney Dusty Rabe, the dog owner's attorneys met with SPCA representatives Thursday morning just prior to a civil hearing in Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King's court, and reached an agreement by which the dog breeder released ownership of the dogs to SPCA of Texas for adoption. The breeder also reportedly agreed to meet the terms outlined in a specific list of instructions in regard to the management and proper operation of an animal kennel.

While the settlement is not a guaranty that the breeder will not face a Class A misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty, it is unlikely she will be charged, provided she follows the guidelines set by SPCA of Texas in the settlement, Rabe said.

"It is my opinion that she is guilty of cruelty on some level, but I don't think it is something that will rise to criminal charges instead of civil," Rabe said. "If she maintains the changes, we will probably have no problems with her in the future."

The 24 dogs which were removed from the County Road 2560 residence on Saturday, Sept. 11, by Anderson and SPCA representatives ranged in type from schnauzers and Scotties to dachshunds.

HCSO and SPCA of Texas launched an investigation of the dog breeder's location after deputies received an animal complaint call for the FM 2560 residence. Anderson and an SPCA investigator went to the location, where they spoke with the breeder. She then allowed them entry to the location to view and take photographs of the animals in their habitat.

When investigating animal cruelty cases, officials check to see that animals are provided with adequate food and water, given shelter and the general condition of that shelter, and that health care needs are met.

All potential adopters will be required meet their potential pet at the shelter, where they will fill out a questionnaire which will cover whether they have other pets, the animal's living arrangements and details concerning the residence. Three references will be required. The application process will take a few days, after which potential adopters will be notified whether or not they meet organization guidelines. Applications approved based on which application is the best match for the animal rather than on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the SPCA of Texas Web site.

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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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