Animal owner chooses not to contest animal seizure

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

WODEN, TX (KTRE) - Animal advocates, animal control officers and law enforcement were not wanting Lauree Brown to fight for the continued ownership of about 134 animals. To their pleasure she did not. After attorneys deliberated for close to an hour, Judge David Perkins, Nacogdoches County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4,  quickly awarded the animals to authorities.

Defense attorney Tim James said Brown didn't appeal, "out the love for her animals".   "Ms. Brown thought this was the best thing for these animals, so to that end she agreed not to contest this seizure and further delay the time when these animals could be placed in a home, " explained James.

There are 118 dogs, mostly pit bulls, but other breeds too, being cared for at the Nacogdoches Exposition Center. Vets have treated them for fleas and run parasite tests on many of them. They're regularly fed and watered, something authorities say didn't happen at Brown's rural kennels in Kingtown.

Authorities have collected evidence of neglect. Much of it was gathered by volunteer animal advocates. A three ring binder was filled with photographs depicting unsanitary conditions, dogs chained to the ground, no food and water and mangy animals.

"It's doubtful the case would have ever made it to the courtroom if it hadn't been for the volunteers," said John Fleming, county attorney for Nacogdoches County. He'll prosecute Brown in criminal charges of cruelty to animals in the coming weeks. A plea is expected.

The cooperation between the constable office, Justice of the Peace, precinct 4 and the city of Nacogdoches is also credited for making the case.

James contends his client was caring for the animals to the best of her ability. He too had pictures, but they showed clean cages and filled water bowls. James acknowledged the photographs were taken after the animal seizure on Thursday evening. In addition, he had binders of rabies certifications on most of the dogs. "This isn't your typical animal abuse case," said James.

Meanwhile, the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter has the challenging job of placing 118 dogs, a few cats, some rabbits and even rats in good homes. "They do look to be okay body wise, but whenever you start looking from a medical perspective you can see there are signs of malnutrition and it's evident in their teeth," Jamie Shelton, shelter director explained.

The animals come with treatable health issues making most of them very adoptable. "They are very friendly. And are good with children from what we understand. They're wonderful with us, absolutely wonderful. Some of them are kinda timid. That's just a handful of them. But most of them will knock you down, licking your face," Shelton said in a very positive tone. Breed rescue groups will be alerted of the need for placements too.

Anyone wanting to adopt an animal should contact either Precinct 4 Constable Jason Bridges at 936-715-0317 or the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter at 936-560-5011.

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