WILSON COUNTY, Texas – More than 60 dogs were surrendered by a foster program to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office after it received several complaints from neighborhood residents about the dogs.
According to Curtis Fowler, a constable for the county, the search of the property in the 400 block of Hidden Deer in La Vernia started after officials picked up a dog nearby that had to be taken to an animal hospital. They later found that the dog belonged to the BNG Foster Program.
“It was known that the dog came from this property, so we decided to check it out,” Fowler said. “It has been an investigation since March.”
Glori Penshorn, who operates the BNG Foster Program on the property, said they started fostering the dogs to help out as much as possible.
“We were created to foster dogs from rescue groups until those groups could find other homes or transport them,” Penshorn said. “We ended up in over our heads because we had rescues who abandoned the dogs and left them here without returning.”
Penshorn said over time, they became overwhelmed with dogs and it was hard to care for each and every one of them.
“We've had dogs tied to our mailbox. We have had dogs dumped in front of our yard. We've had people ask us to keep dogs when they moved and never come back for them, and it just got to a situation that was out of control,” Penshorn said.
Due to the condition of some parts of the fence surrounding the property, some dogs were able to get out, causing concerns in the neighborhood.
“We received about seven to 14 calls about loose animals in the area over the course of three years,” Fowler said.
One neighbor said the dogs had killed several dozens of chickens on their property.
“They killed about 40 of our chickens,” the resident, who did not want to be identified, said. “They would just jump over the fence like deer and come over here. There has been times where we have had to take them and dump them back over the fence.”
Penshorn said she has tried on several occasions to get help from others.
“We started a Facebook page and one person was able to donate around $20,000 to help us out over the course of years,” Penshorn said. “But more and more dogs were being dumped here. We reached out to everyone and no one responded, just a lot of negative comments.”
Penshorn said the program was to help with an issue in the county for years, but because they had no help, it was more than they could handle.
“We didn't do anything here on purpose,” Penshorn said. “We got in with a rescue and we got in over our head, and when we asked for help, nobody was there. So we tried to figure it out on our own.”
Because of that, Penshorn said the medical resources were lacking.
The Wilson County No-Kill Animal Shelter assisted officials in rescuing the dogs. Elena Berlanga, with the shelter, said the conditions of the animals were concerning.
“All had some form of hair loss,” Berlanga said. “Some had open sores. The conditions just required medical attention.”
The dogs were taken to different vet clinics for care before being transported to other facilities.
Penshorn said she is happy the dogs are going to get the care she couldn’t financially provide, but she wants people to understand the importance of putting the dogs first.
“When they are dumped in front of our house, I am not going to leave them on the street so they could get hit,” Penshorn said. “In the end, it was all about the animal.”
Officials also stress the importance of spaying and neutering pets to prevent situations like this from happening again.