UPDATE: Both owners were arrested and charged with cruelty to non-livestock animal which is a class A misdemeanor.

  • Dogs and puppies officially seized from Canton home, 11 found dead
  • Two of the remaining 60 surviving dogs have died
  • Custody awarded to SPCA of Texas
  • No proof of large scale breeding license
  • Criminal charges have not yet been filed

The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and the SPCA of Texas officially seized 71 dogs and puppies at an alleged puppy mill in Canton on Wednesday, March 14.

12 were originally reported by the SPCA of Texas, found deceased in a freezer inside the home, but has been updated to the official total of 11.

The animals were suffering from various health issues including fur loss, long nails, eye and ear issues and matted fur, and the 11 dead dogs were found individually wrapped in plastic bags in the kitchen freezer.

The seizure is the result of an investigation into the alleged puppy mill after the SPCA of Texas' Animal Cruelty received a complaint on March 1.

The statement reads in part:

Many of the dogs and puppies were found living in feces-filled wire crates with no access to food or water. In one room, several nursing mothers with litters of puppies were found confined in small, plastic and wire crates in a closet. Other dogs roamed the urine-soaked, feces-filled house with little to no access food or water.

The remaining 60 dogs that were found at the home were taken into the custody of the SPCA. Since last week, two have passed, one due to a birth defect and the other due to parasites and an intestinal virus.

The custody hearing took place Friday, March 23 in Van Zandt County, Judge Sandra Plaster presiding.

The previous owners agreed to the deal put in place by the state and the SPCA of Texas which includes:

  • Custody of the remaining 58 dogs be awarded to the SPCA of Texas
  • $16,814.50 in restitution be waived

“Well, next steps - we are going to of course continue providing them with care and we will be evaluating them for adoption on a case by case basis,” says Maura Davies of SPCA of Texas.

The remaining 58 dogs and puppies will continue to receive care at the SPCA of Texas' rescue facility in Dallas.

The previous owners made no comment on why the animals were found living in such poor living conditions, but did say the 11 deceased dogs found in the freezer were going to be taken to be buried in West Texas.

Criminal charges are expected to be filed soon.

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