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Animals seized in county undergoing evaluation

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Authorities say it could be several weeks before they know if any of the dogs seized Thursday in northeast Denton County will be adoptable.

Shelly Meeks, assistant shelter manager for the Humane Society of North Texas, said crews arrived with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday at a property in the 16000 block Celina Road at 7 a.m. and didn’t clear the property until well after midnight.

“We ended up removing nearly 250 dogs from the property,” Meeks said. “There was feces and urine everywhere ... it was just horrifying.”

The sheriff’s office received a citizen complaint a few days ago, Sheriff Will Travis said. Shortly after the complaint, a search warrant for the property was obtained.

On Friday afternoon, Travis said the animals were still being checked out and evaluated by a veterinarian.

“Once they are checked out and we have the reports back on their condition, we will divide these cases up with the district attorney’s office and look into whether or not charges will be filed,” he said.

The property owner, officials said, is refusing to grant the humane society full custody.

“We need full custody in order to get them available for adoption, if that time comes,” Meeks said.

The property owner operates under the name Animal Guardians of America and has 10 days to file an appeal if the humane society is awarded custody of the animals, she said. Officials said it could be a few weeks before they know if they can put the animals up for adoption.

Mostly all the animals seized were various breeds of dogs, but there were also a few cats.

There was food out, but investigators said many of the animals didn’t have any water.

“Some were very skinny and didn’t have access to anything,” Meeks said. “Others were inside tin-roof buildings where temperatures reached 140 degrees.”

Calls to Animal Guardians of America, described on its website as a no-kill and nonprofit shelter, were not returned.

Meeks said she is grateful to all who helped and put their time into making sure the animals were moved to an undisclosed location and making sure they are being cared for properly.

Officials said the evaluations for the numerous animals could take several days.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.