Animal Cruelty is a Growing Problem in East Texas

Some pet owners consider taking care of their animals easy and fun. You feed them, give them plenty to drink, and make sure they get enough exercise.

"We let everything run loose," said Charles Jordan of Charnell Farm. "We don't keep anything in the barn this time of year on account of the heat. Everything runs loose and we got three ponds on the property [for the animals to drink from]."

But that's not what everyone does. That's why Angelina County Animal Control officers showed up at a home Wednesday morning to investigate a complaint about seven neglected horses in a pasture just outside Zavalla.

The property owner said, "I just let him leave them at my place free of charge so he'd have a place to put them. He's going to worm them and he's been feeding them. You oughta seen them when he brought them in here. They was poor and couldn't hardly walk, and they look real good now than they did."

So animal control tried to track down the horses' owners, but could not find them. When they do, the owners will have a chance to explain how long the horses have been there and who takes care of them when they're away.

But often, pet owners have to face a judge when neglect or abuse is suspected. Two weeks ago, animal control found a dog in such bad shape it had to be taken straight to a vet and put down after they picked it up.

"The dog was very emaciated, dehydrated," said Animal Control Officer Melanie Wade. "The skin had sores, it was oozing. Blow flies were on the body, plus they were on the grass and leaves above the dog. The flies had also laid eggs all over the body."

It was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty in Angelina County. The dog's owners, Brenda and Tyrone Davis, were arrested and charged with animal cruelty. They are out of jail on bond awaiting trial.

Animal Control Officer Monica Hill said, "If we have a case that we can present before the county attorney and they say they'll go forth with the charges, that's when we get the arrest warrant and we go out and make our arrest to go further with prosecution."

There are only two animal control officers for Angelina County. Both have training in animal care and are on call 24 hours a day.