Alpha Tex Kennel owners say they cannot pay $354,530 bond - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Alpha Tex Kennel owners say they cannot pay $354,530 bond

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The Floyd County judge that ruled AlphaTex Kennels would not get their dogs back may not be allowed to rule in some parts of their appeal process.

In documents obtained by KCBD NewsChannel 11, the attorney representing the kennel's owners, Mark and Sandra Smith, is requesting that Justice of the Peace Tali Jackson recuse herself from the case.

The Smiths are represented by Paul Holloway of Plainview.

Last week Jackson ruled that AlphaTex would not be allowed possession of around 200 dogs seized by the Floyd County Sheriff. The animals were temporarily placed in the care of the Humane Society of West Texas.

In September, Floyd County Sheriff Paul Raissez served a warrant to seize the dogs from AlphaTex Kennels. The Humane Society of West Texas said several dogs appeared to be sick, injured, or living in areas covered with urine.

Court documents reveal that three Floyd County residents gave sworn testimony that they "have good reason to believe and do believe that Mark and Sandra Smith cannot and did not receive a fair and impartial trial before Justice Tali Jackson."

If Jackson recuses herself, she would be the last remaining Justice of the Peace in Floyd County. The other justice of the peace, Kelly Dunbar, was disqualified earlier in the case, according to the documents.

Floyd County officials are working to determine what options would be available as the appeal process goes forward; they expect to have more information on Monday.

The Smith's attorney is also asking to have Floyd County Attorney Pro Tem Donald Feare disqualified from the case. Feare is accused of violating the Smith's rights and not filing the proper paperwork to represent Floyd County.

Holloway also filed a request for a waiver of bond. In last week's ruling, Jackson ordered a $354,530 bond to be paid before they appealed.

The majority of that money was to be paid to the Humane Society for the fees they incurred while taking care of the dogs since the seizure. An additional $118,000 was built into the bond for the estimated cost of caring for the dogs during the appeals process.

Holloway requested that the county grant the Smiths a status of indigence.

If the Smiths are found to be indigent, or not having the ability to pay, then the justice of the peace could waive the appeal bond. That would clear the way for an appeal to be filed in County Court.

A hearing is set for December 1st to determine if the Smiths are indigent. Court documents do not reveal if Jackson has recused herself, but she was scheduled to make that ruling next week on the Smith's request for a status of indigence.

KCBD contacted Holloway to ask why the Smiths were claiming indigence but declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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