To The Rescue
SPCA removes dozens of cats and fish from Hopkins County house
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Oct. 10, 2007 - Dozens of cats and fish were removed Tuesday afternoon from a house on County Road 2450 by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals due to the living conditions on the property.
As of late Wednesday morning, authorities had not determined whether charges would be filed against the home owner, who said she had been staying at her mother’s house due to a sewer leak at the house but had been returning daily to feed the cats.
Officers found at least one bag of food on the premises, which would help support her claim.
�It looks like the situation just grew out of control,� Lt. Henry Turner said. �She appeared to be trying to take care of them.
"Most of the cats appeared OK. It was just some of the kittens that had some problems," Turner added. "If she voluntarily gives up the cats, we most likely won’t file charges against her."
The investigation began Monday with a complaint to Hopkins County sheriff’s deputies of a large number of animals at the location, where they appeared to have been abandoned. Deputies went to the location and found in excess of 30 cats in the house and on the property. The cats appeared to be getting in and out of the house through an open window.
SPCA was and began its own investigation Monday, finding the cats to be “living in filthy, feces and urine-infested conditions,” according to Maura Davies, senior director of communications for the Dallas SPCA office.
They decided to take the case. A hearing was held Tuesday morning in justice of the peace court, where a warrant was granted for the animals to be seized for their protection. The sheriff’s office notified SPCA that the warrant had been granted, and a crew from the Dallas agency brought dozens of pet carriers and a trailer just after noon Tuesday to Sulphur Springs. They were escorted by sheriff’s officers to the CR 2450 residence and began the rescue operation.
All together, SPCA indicated finding three dead cats on the property and rescuing 43. They also found 30 fish in fish tanks in the house and took them, as well.
The animals were taken to the Dallas SPCA office at 362 South Industrial Blvd., where “they will be vaccinated, wormed, fed, groomed and evaluated by a veterinarian.”
A custody hearing for the animals is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday in Hopkins County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Court to determine whether they will be returned to the owner or awarded to the SPCA. If awarded to the SPCA, the cats will be spayed and neutered and made available for adoption on a case-by-case basis.
More information about the SPCA of Texas or photos from the rescue operation can be found on the agency's website at http://www.spca.org.