In a joint effort led by the Fort Bend County Constables Office for Precinct 3’s animal cruelty investigator, 227 animals were seized from a home in the 2000 block of Saddlehorn Trail in Katy, …
In a joint effort led by the Fort Bend County Constables Office for Precinct 3’s animal cruelty investigator, 227 animals were seized from a home in the 2000 block of Saddlehorn Trail in Katy, just south of Katy Mills, Fort Bend officials said. Taking the animals from the owner was prompted when Fort Bend County Animal Services officials requested help from the investigator after looking into a report about the home Feb. 27.
“Today we are marking an animal cruelty case in Katy, Texas which is the largest animal [cruelty] case in the county so far,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said.
George said the animal cruelty officer was one of several people working on the case which includes assistance from Fort Bend County Animal Services, Houston PetSet, Harris County Constables Office Precinct 5, the Fort Bend County Attorney’s Office, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office’s Mental Health team and the Houston Humane Society. The members are a part of the Fort Bend County Animal Cruelty Task Force.
Fort Bend County Constable for Precinct 3 Wayne Thompson said the seizure process began after the animal cruelty investigator in his department observed the condition of the home. The officer then went to a judge to ask for a warrant to take the animals from their owner, a woman over the age of 60 who had been trying to care for the animals alone. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office had their mental health team evaluate the woman. The animals were seized and taken to the Houston Humane Society for evaluation, Thompson said.
No arrests have yet been made though the woman, who has not yet been identified because the investigation is ongoing, is a suspect, Thompson said. The investigation necessitates fully examining all of the animals involved, he added.
“Currently we are undergoing a full physical exam for each animal from the Fort Bend seizure,” said Carolyn Bender, a staff veterinarian at the Houston Humane Society. “We have currently addressed all of the exotics [which had] mostly had husbandry concerns. These species included turtles, tortoises, degus, rats, ferrets and birds as well.”
Evaluations of dogs were expected to take a while longer, but canines examined so far have skin issues and fleas, Bender said. A few have more serious health conditions that are being addressed.
“We have also completed all the feline exams and their concerns were mainly fleas, ear disease as well as upper respiratory infections, so treatments have already begun for that,” Bender said.
Two animals died during the seizure process, Thompson said. One died on-scene while the other died during transport to the Houston Humane Society.
Michelle Turner with the Fort Bend County Attorney’s Office said a hearing would be held March 9 wherein the county would ask for the ownership of the animals be transferred to the Houston Humane Society.
Thompson said the owner of the animals was cooperative but while her intentions toward the animals, which she did not appear to be trying to breed, seemed good, she may have become overwhelmed over time.
Fort Bend County Assistant District Attorney Sherry Robinson said charges could range from a Class A misdemeanor to a felony. The suspect’s mindset and intentions toward the animals and the overall conditions of all the animals would be taken into account prior to an arrest or formal charges being filed.
“When we work closely with the task force, our cases are better for it, so we thank the county judge and Constable Thompson for spearheading the creation of the task force. When we all work together our cases become solid cases that we can prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Assistant District Attorney Sherry Robinson said.
The Houston Humane Society is in need of donations to assist with the care associated with this case and its day-to-day operations, Bender said. Area residents who want to help cover the estimated $100,000 cost associated with the case can visit www.houstonhumane.org, drop donations off at the Humane Society or order supplies through the Houston Humane Societ’s Amazon wish list.
Thompson said the law requires pet owners to register cats and dogs and provide all animals with food water and shelter.
Anyone suspecting animal cruelty in the Fort Bend County portion of the Katy area should call 832-927-7297 (PAWS) to reach the animal cruelty task force, Thompson said.
George expressed gratitude for the assistance of all the agencies that have formed partnerships to prevent animal cruelty in Fort Bend County and wants residents to know the county is prioritizing animal welfare and good treatment.
“I just want to send a clear message to people in our county,” George said. “If you are abusing animals, you are leading any kind of animal cruelty activities, we are going to come after you and we are against you, and we are going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”