Dogs Seized From Texas Home

Dogs Seized From HomeWarning: This story may disturb some readers.

Bastrop County Animal Control seized eight surviving and four dead dogs from the front yard of a Texas home last week. Neighbors had been complaining about dogs being chained in front of the house and the conditions of the dogs since January.

One resident said that dogs were being chained up outside of the house since late January. She also stated that in March, there were 13 dogs chained outside with no food, water or shelter. Puppies were also locked in crates outside in the sun without water or food. Pictures were taken of the dogs and affidavits were sent to animal control documenting the conditions.

More on the investigation after the jump.

From statesman.com:

An animal control officer, Kevin Johnson, went to the house and spoke with one of the owners, who said that she was a dog breeder.

At that time, Johnson said, he thought the dogs’ thinness could be attributed to a pit bull’s natural build.

But the overgrown grass and dirty yard, combined with the dogs’ thinness, raised a red flag for him and others at animal control.

Investigators visited the house about eight times in April and May, Johnson said.

Bastrop County law requires owners to provide dogs and other animals with “sufficient good and wholesome food and water, adequate shelter and protection from the weather, (and) veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering.” If a dog is chained, the chain must be at least 8 feet long.

Johnson said he did not think during those visits that Schmitz had violated the law.

The puppies’ areas were stained with urine and feces, “but that’s puppies for you,” Johnson said.

Several of the dogs had tipped over their water dishes, “but what dog doesn’t do that sometimes?” he asked.

The chains were at least 8 feet long, though some were shortened by tangles, he said.

Without clear evidence of neglect or abuse, animal control officers did not think they had grounds to take the dogs, he said.

Then finally, there was evidence of neglect and abuse on June 7. A dog was found dead hanging from the chain it had wrapped around the post. 10 dogs were still chained outside the house. The owners were nowhere to be found. Johnson didn’t seize the dogs at that point because he thought he required a deputy’s assistance to remove the dogs (The sheriff’s office said that a deputy’s presence is not required and animal control can seize animals). He left a warning note on the door to the owners.

On June 12, animal control officers returned to the house to find 4 dead dogs and 8 dogs in poor conditions and seized the dogs from the property. One puppy soon died after being taken away from the house and a female dog, the mother to some of the puppies, had to be euthanized due to her poor condition.

Bastrop County sheriff’s investigators are reviewing the case to determine whether animal cruelty charges should be filed against Erin Schmitz, 20, who had rented the pale yellow house on Texas 95 where the dogs were found. Schmitz and her family did not return e-mail or phone messages left this week.

Justice of the Peace Bill Weddle said Wednesday that the case appears to be among the worst he has seen.

“If you chain a dog up, and you don’t give the dog water or feed, that’s the height of animal cruelty,” Weddle said.

(Thanks scroissant)

15 Responses to “Dogs Seized From Texas Home”

  1. Takami826 says:

    Let’s lock erin schmitz up in a cage with no food or water and leave her out in the hot sun for a few days.

  2. High Note says:

    THE CHAIN ON THAT POOR DOG IS HUGE AND HE LOOKS UNDERFEED TOO. I SEE HIS RIBS. I HOPE HE GETS SOME JAIL TIME.

  3. AustinOriginal says:

    The officers who are being paid to handle these situations should be broght up on charges as we..

  4. Joan says:

    How about transferring Johnson out of animal control and have him pushing papers where his lack of judgment cannot kill helpless animals. How could he not know that animal control has power to protect the same animals he is supposed to protect. Get him out of that job and away from any living creature. I am disgusted by his lack of action, lack of job knowledge and slow response to suffering animals. Have his superiors checked on his credentials?

  5. Pit Bull Lover says:

    Call me “FORMER Animal Control Officer Kevin Johnson”!

    From the Austin American-Statesman (registration required):
    “Johnson said that Animal Control Director Betty Wade told him Friday that she was firing him for not seizing the dogs on June 7 and for speaking with reporters about the incident.” http://tinyurl.com/2e338c

    “[i]…and for speaking with reporters.[/i]” I see how you are, Betty. Honestly, doesn’t anyone review the complaints, reports, and ongoing case records at this place?!? I think FORMER Officer Johnson’s boss needs to be fired, also. (Yes, that would be you, Betty Wade, Director of Animal Control for Bastrop County.) Despite multiple calls over several months regarding animals at this residence, June 7 is the official date the dogs should have been seized?

    Funny (but not), two of the owners/abusers of these dogs were arrested when they tried to reclaim the remaining (that’s “not dead”) dogs from the animal shelter. And there’s more from Betty Wade here also:

    http://tinyurl.com/24ucce

  6. Phyllis says:

    Seems like Johnson is on somebody else’s payroll. “That’s puppies for you.” “What dog doesn’t do that sometimes” etc. Johnson is the type of animal control officer you see in movies!

  7. Phyllis says:

    Excellent points, Joan. Either he is an idiot, or a heartless fool. Take your pick. GRRRRRRRRR

  8. Phyllis says:

    Sooooo — I see—– it is really all the little guy’s fault and not the director’s. How about taking some responsibility Betty? You probably told him not to take them because you have a hidden agenda of your own.

  9. beth says:

    i just joined the ASPCA , if that is the what they are going to let the workers get by with, i will just start taking food and supples to the pound . they may have lost my money.

  10. Furious in Bastrop says:

    Attn Pit Bull Lover & Phyllis, you two seem to know so much………When I read Kevin Johnson’s response in the first newspaper article in the statesman I became furious. As a former Animal Control Officer and knowing Betty Wade personally his responses to the questions were ridiculous. Why don’t you two go out and see how many calls the Bastrop County Animal Control handles, their lack of enough officers and all the bull crap they have to put up with from the citizens of Bastrop County who refuse to comply with the county ordinances concerning their pets. Better yet why don’t you two go out and volunteer to clean dog crap and see all the poor inocent animals that have been THROWN AWAY and have to be put down because there just isn’t enough room to keep all the dogs and cats, and there just isn’t enough People to give them all a loving home!!!!!

  11. Jen says:

    This is in my home town and I am shocked!
    Bastrop County has always been strict when it comes to the welfare of animals and for them to let this one turn out the way it did, it’s just sad and very sick.

  12. Baaboo says:

    What the hell took so long. Somebody needs to be FIRED !!!!!

  13. Goodsand says:

    The animal control person (Johnson?) needs to be locked up too. He stated he didn’t think the dogs were in distress the first time, and it took several months and a dead dog before he decided to take action? Come on.

  14. MB says:

    I’d like to hear from others with feedback on Bastrop Animal Control. In my experience, in addition to not taking appropriate action to protect animals when necessary, they also target individuals and animals who incurr their ire.

    They have trespassed on my property without permission, filed false reports repeatedly, and now have a cage on my property - again without permission - which has trapped neighborhood pets who are welcome on my property and not causing anyone any harm

  15. MB says:

    As I was doing more research I found that, despite the above and countless other situations, Betty Wade is acting President-elect of the Texas Animal Control Association.
    www.taca.org/pdfs/TACA-Summer-2007-Newsletter.pdf

    I find this extremely disturbing


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