According to the Montgomery County Police Reporter, "Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constables and Harris County Precinct 4 Constables Offices executed several warrants moments ago at 5311 Breen in Northwest Harris County and arrested Leah Purcell."
"On July 18, 2012, Montgomery County Animal Control, with the assistance of several law enforcement offices, including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of the United States, moved in on the Spindletop Dog Rescue on Calvary Road to rescue the hundreds of dogs (mostly Pit Bulls) that were allegedly being kept in inhumane conditions."
Although the warrant service occurred early in the day, it wasn’t until 6 a.m. the following morning that all dogs had been removed. Seeing the sheer scale of the operation, law enforcement saw it fit to contact the HSUS and seek assistance.
Katie Jarl, HSUS Texas State Director, called the establishment a ¨large scale hoarding situation¨ and conditions ¨absolutely deplorable.¨
“We came on-scene and found conditions were absolutely horrible,” Jarl said. “Many (of the dogs) were living in cramped, stacked cages without access to clean water, veterinary care, and certainly without access to any outdoor enrichment.”
"Jarl said many of the kennels and cages were so small that dogs were unable to stand or turn around. Many dogs were lying in their own waste, trapped there for 23 to 24 hours a day without access to food. Inside one of five buildings on the property, a two-story house, investigators found around 80 more dogs in the same conditions. The smell was said to be so strong and that even seasoned investigators were forced to step out of the rooms to take a breath."
Tim Holifield has been working tirelessly for over two years on the case. Formerly a constable for the county, Holifield resigned as constable to devote himself full time to this and other animal cruelty cases as Montgomery County Animal Cruelty Officer.
"Holifield said the investigation resulting in the massive seizure was the result of complaints lodged by former volunteers and workers. One particularly gruesome allegation claimed that a recent heat wave had killed many poorly sheltered dogs, all of whom were buried in a mass grave on the property. As of this writing, that allegation has not been proven or disproven, with the focus being on rescuing the live dogs that survived."
“Several showed signs of recently giving birth,” Holifield said. “We don’t know where the puppies are – we’ll continue to evaluate that also.”
"All dogs were then transported to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds After almost a month all the dogs had either been returned to their owners or taken by one of several rescue organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, Red Rover and others. The owner, Ms. Purcell, was allowed to keep eleven dogs which she had proven to be her own."
"Many owners explained they had a long relationship with Purcell, the owner of Spindletop. Most were paying $750 a quarter to board and evaluate the dogs and claimed the property had always seemed very nice and clean during their visits. However, they also claimed to have been restricted to the area in front of the small house and nowhere else on the property. They said at least one of the buildings close to the front was closed on account of it housing aggressive animals."
States the Montgomery County Police Reporter, "Holifield finally received the last of the necessary records just weeks ago and was able to put the large volumes of documents in the District Attorney’s hands."
"With that information three misdemeanor warrants for animal cruelty and one felony warrant for animal cruelty were issued."
"Just last week Purcell was arrested on FM 1960 by a DPS Trooper after he stopped her on a traffic offense and discovered she had an open warrant for illegal dumping in Montgomery County. This stemming from the Spindletop operation also.
She is now being taken in front of a Harris County Judge and will then be transported to the Montgomery County Jail where she will be booked."
Many of us, including The American Pit Bull Examiner and Reunion Rescue have waited long for this day. Reunion Rescue was one of the thousands who'd boarded dogs with Purcell at Spindletop over the years. Reunion Rescue's Stella was killed at Spindletop during the time 39 dogs perished from heatstroke in the Morgan Building.
Zandra Anderson, the Texas Dog Lawyer, friend and representation for Purcell had several articles pulled from the Examiner with threats of lawsuits based on fear tactics and false claims. Anderson raises money on her website without benefit of 501(c)(3).
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