Dallas police showed up at a North Dallas home in April to check on the woman who lived there. She was alive, and so were the 46 dogs and cats with whom she shared the home.
Dallas Animal Services manager Jody Jones says there were "huge amount of feces" in the home and that the conditions posed an immediate health risk to animals and humans alike. Animal control officers seized the pets, which have been in DAS care ever since. The shelter was recently awarded permanent custody.
Shelter officials are being tight-lipped about the seizure, saying they fear damaging the criminal case that will be filed against the woman in coming months. The animals were in "varying conditions," Jones said. The house was "a regular home in North Dallas. Not huge, not small." She declined to release the woman's name or address.
What they will say is that the shelter now has 46 dogs and cats (adults and kittens) in need of a home, which is in addition to the 100 or so animals that show up on a typical day. DAS operations manager Cate McManus puts the price tag for taking care of the animals at $27,000.
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Such large-scale animal hoarding cases don't happen every day in Dallas, but they're not exactly rare either. In general, Jones says, the owners' intent isn't typically criminal, even if their actions are. "There's no doubt that these people loved their pets and thought they were doing the right thing by them, but sometimes people's heart can overwhelm their ability to provide for the care and maintenance, not only for the animals but the home and the facility around them."