Saturday, January 14, 2017

Texas: Mistake on search warrant means all 150 seized animals have to be returned to abuser Margie Michalsky and her 'rescue' she calls Puppy-Dogs-R-Us

TEXAS -- Margie Michalsky says after losing her shelter during Hurricane Ike, she opened another 20-acre shelter on a county road in Dayton.

She says she's always had the best of intentions.


"I've had dogs come to me hit by cars, puppies come to me, they've gotten better," said Michalsky.

She admits the no-kill shelter has been overwhelmed at times and added, "Puppies grow up, we ran out of space because we had to divide the boys from the girls."


Her volunteers say she's even told people they are full but they wake up to animals out the front door.

"They're left in the totes, they're left in the sign, crates, she takes them in. We do what we can," volunteer Trisha McCourt said.

Last week, investigators seized 150 dogs, cats and a horse.


Liberty County Sheriff's deputies and Houston SPCA said there have been ongoing investigations into Puppy-Dogs-R-Us since 2009 with repeated warnings to correct conditions at the site.


SPCA says since seizing and evaluating the animals, they found many in poor condition.

"We saw some skin issues, parasites, dehydration, fractures," SPCA spokesperson Kerry McKneel said.


On Tuesday, a reversal of the case was declared by a Liberty County judge during a civil hearing due to a technicality on the address listed on the search warrant.

This is why training is so important for these animal cases. Who wrote the search warrant? Who proofread it? Defense attorneys live for these kinds of mistakes. Something as simple as the wrong address listed on the search warrant can mean the entire case falls apart, as it did here, and the animals - which are considered property - returned to their abuser. 


There was a case a few years ago where authorities executed a search warrant to seize some horses, but the horses had been put into the 2nd pasture, which wasn't listed on the search warrant. The defense attorney picked up on that right away - the charges were dismissed and the starved horses, which were already putting on weight at the rescue they were taken to, had to be given back to their abuser. Everyone was outraged and horrified, but nothing could be done. It was a fatal flaw.

"We were all very distraught and disappointed with the decision," McKneel added.

This cat is sick, look at the discharge coming out of his nose

The dismissal of the case now means all 150 animals must be returned from SPCA to the owners of the property within 24 hours.

"My babies are coming home. My personal babies, my shelter babies are coming home. Yes," Michalsky said of the decision.

Since the seizure the owners say they've been working to clean-up, gather more supplies and improve conditions.


"These are part of our lives, part of our heart, every single animal here. Whether they have four legs, three, missing an eye," McCourt said. "They're a part of our lives."

The sheriff's office says they won't appeal but will continue to monitor the facility. The owners say if there's a silver lining in this it's the donations and volunteers who have come forward and offered to help.


(ABC13 - Jan 11, 2017)


No comments:

Post a Comment