CANTON, TX (KETK) — The SPCA has seized an alleged 87 cruelly treated animals after more than 50 dead horses were found at a “sanctuary” property near Canton, Texas.
The SPCA of Texas released a statement on the seizure:
Today, the SPCA of Texas, the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office and the Van Zandt County Constable’s Office seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 87 allegedly cruelly treated animals from a self-described “sanctuary” for animals near Canton, TX in Van Zandt County.
The animals consist of 70 horses, 9 donkeys, 6 pigs and 1 longhorn. More than 50 additional deceased horses were found in various states of decomposition on the property.
One deceased horse was removed so that a necropsy can be performed to determine cause of death. The pigs were transported to the SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, TX and the horses, donkeys and the longhorn will be housed at a offsite care facility. The animals will be examined by medical staff and cared for until a custody hearing takes place. The custody hearing will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 10 a.m. at 250 E. Grove St., Canton, TX 75103, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, the Honorable Sandra Plaster presiding.
More than half of the horses, the donkeys and the longhorn were roaming on a large, fenced pasture on the property. These animals had no access to food and little to no access to water. Other horses were confined to two smaller pastures on the property with no access to food and minimal water. The horses were so desperate for nourishment that they were eating the bark off of the trees, leaving some trees completely bare of bark.
The pigs were confined to a small wire pen with no access to food. The animals appear to have varying health issues, including malnourishment, open sores, nasal discharge, diarrhea, hair loss, overgrown and cracked hooves, fly bites and other injuries.
The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty and visited the property on March 3, 2018. During that visit, the SPCA of Texas began working with the owners, educating them on the proper feeding and care of horses and entering into an agreement with them to bring the animals’ conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code.
At this time, the presence of the deceased horses was unknown. The SPCA of Texas’ Investigator checked in on the animals on March 15 and again on March 28. On March 30, 2018, the SPCA of Texas received a complaint of more than 50 deceased horses on the same property and visited that same day.
At this point, the SPCA of Texas began gathering resources to remove the animals. The SPCA of Texas and the Van Zandt County Constable’s Office visited the property again on April 3 to collect additional evidence and then obtained and served a seizure warrant this morning.