An on-going animal investigation in South Lubbock County has sparked attention around the world, and video caught by KCBD could play a role in bringing animal cruelty charges against the owner of 60 or more dogs.
The property is located on County Road 7250 is being investigated by the Lubbock County Sheriff's office after neighbors called in complaining of animal cruelty. A petition on the internet has since gone into circulation wanting law enforcement to remove the dogs being kept in cinder block kennels outside.
Around noon on Wednesday, nearly 200 people from across the world, including Italy, Australia, Thailand, Czech Republic and Switzerland have signed the petition.
Back in May, KCBD was invited onto neighboring properties to take a look at the dogs. We found dozens of cinderblock kennels lined in three rows with dogs of all breeds inside. Some of the dogs were chained to the walls, barely able to reach the food and not able to reach water at all. Other dogs had dirty water, and feces covered the kennel floors. The property was also littered with trash and five gallon buckets.
"There are obviously way too many dogs out there for one man to take care of," said Gretchen Cervantez, a neighbor a few houses down from the property. "I want something done. It's not right, and I think if we were in any other community this wouldn't be happening."
Sheriff Kelly Rowe says they have been investigating the property owner, who goes by Mr. Lee for more than a year and have been to the residence to take pictures on multiple occasions.
The Sheriff's office has since taken their evidence to the District Attorney's Office to have charges filed, but Rowe says the DA's office declined to pursue any animal cruelty charges on the owner. Legally the Sheriff's office can only continue to compile evidence to give to the DA's office.
Wednesday Mr. Lee agreed to talk to us on camera, and take us back to the kennels to show he had been taking better care of the dogs. Improvements had been made including clean water bowls, no feces in the kennels, no chains and he showed proof all had been vaccinated.
While talking with Mr. Lee, we noticed a dog covered in flies. Lee grabbed a can of Raid, a pesticide used to kill bugs, and he proceeded to spray it on the dogs face and body. He then did the same to several other kennels.
When we asked Lee if he thought that was safe he replied "I think if you put it on the face then sure, it may burn an eye or something, but I put it on the body – not the face."
After telling the Sheriff's office about the incident, an investigator was sent to the property and took the cans of Raid as evidence as part of the investigation to present to the DA's office.
The only way the Sheriff's office could remove the dogs is if the DA's office got a judge to sign a seizure warrant.
To view the petition (click here).
Copyright 2011 KCBD. All rights reserved.