DALLAS - Animal cruelty investigators seized several animals, including a dead dog, from a property in Southeast Dallas Wednesday afternoon.
The SPCA of Texas seized two horses and a pit bull from a home in Pleasant Grove after someone called with concerns about the animals. Another pit bull, found dead inside the garage, was also removed from the home.
In a statement, the SPCA of Texas said the dead dog and the two living horses were found inside a red detached garage on the 3000 block of Pruitt Avenue. Another pit bull was found chained to a tree in a yard. It was found alive but was emaciated and had wounds on its ears.
The SPCA said one of the horses had an injured back leg and cannot walk and the other is thin. Both had chipped hooves.
Officials said it's the third time animal cruelty investigators have been to the home this month.
A spokesperson for the SPCA said a complaint came in about emaciated animals and that none of the animals had proper food, water or shelter.
SPCA Investigator Staci Kimberlin visited the home on November 15 and found the four animals alive. Kimberlin is one of six SPCA investigators covering seven counties. She's based out of Van Zandt County and has the power to enforce state animal cruelty laws by filing charges directly with DA in the county where she's assigned. But in the case in Pleasant Grove, she could not file charges at the time of the visit, only follow-up.
“At this particular moment, nothing. I can't do anything,” Kimberlin said in a November 15 interview. “If I went to a judge and said, ‘This is what I've got. I want to take these animals right now,’ it wouldn't be enough.”
The SPCA says an investigator returned to the home two days later and spoke with the owner of the animals who promised to take better care of them. Owners are allowed time to comply with state law.
But on Wednesday, two weeks after the original visit, investigators returned to find one of the pit bulls dead.
A woman who said she rents the home told FOX 4 off camera that the animals belong to her husband. She also said she and her husband had not been living at the home because it was being renovated.
The woman said the dogs and horses typically roam around the property, which is not fully fenced in. She claimed the horses had been moved inside the red garage because it was raining.
A FOX 4 investigation in seven months exposed failures in the system to investigate animal cruelty with no one group tracking all cases in Dallas from start to finish. The investigation also found that out of 4,000 animal cruelty calls the city received last year, only 11 cases made it to the DA for prosecution.
The work Kimberlin was doing at the Pleasant Grove property is part of a new partnership announced in September between Dallas Police and the SPCA to better investigate cases, allowing the SPCA to take the lead from DPD's Southeast Division.
The injured pit bull is now at the SPCA of Texas Emergency Rescue Center in Dallas. The horses are at an animal care center in McKinney.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of death for the other pit bull.
The custody hearing will be held on Thursday, December 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the Dallas County Government Center courthouse in Lancaster.
There is no word yet on whether the owners will face criminal charges.