TITUS COUNTY (KYTX) – An investigation by the Titus County Sheriff's Department has led to the seizure of numerous dogs in extreme stages of malnourishment.
Investigators report that on July 15, 2014, Titus County deputies traveled to the 800 block of County Road 1925 regarding a tip of starving dogs being kept on the property.
On arrival to the location three adult dogs and several puppies were observed and appeared to be in extreme stages of malnourishment. From the county road, you could see one dog who displayed an extensively protruding rib-cage and a waist diameter that was shrunken to less than one half of what would be observed on a normal dog of that physical size.
The dog was chained in a bare area of the driveway where there did not exist any source of water or food. Another dog was found on the property that was also on a chain which was severely malnourished and in the same dehydrated state.
Running around the yard was one other adult dog with puppies which all exhibited signs of malnourishment however, appeared in better shape than the two dogs on the chain as they were likely able to forage for other limited sources of food and water.
There were no indicators present that led deputies to believe the dogs had been properly cared for in weeks or more. Based on visual observations and the seriously advanced stages of dehydration and starvation of several of the animals present, the situation was deemed exigent and emergency steps to seize the animals were undertaken for the purpose of initiating life sustaining help for the animals and to mitigate the animals suffering.
The investigation found that Michael Wayne Mathis and Stephanie Shannon Smith were the responsible parties to these animals.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of Michael Wayne Mathis and Stephanie Shannon Smith for Cruelty to a Non-Livestock Animal. Stephanie Shannon Smith was located and arrested for the warrants on July 16, 2014 but the Sheriff's Office is still searching for Michael Wayne Mathis.
Sheriff Ingram would like to say thank you to Chief Isabel for allowing the Mount Pleasant Animal Control officers to assist us in retrieving and caring for these animals and also thankful for the tip we received from the public that allowed us to find these animals and get them cared for properly.