Abandoned dogs’ rescue delayed by legal red tape in Balcones Heights

“It was pretty much pointing fingers and nobody wanting to help.”

Three dogs were left alone in an apartment in Balcones Heights for days with no sign of their owner, according to police.

“It was just out of character to see them that distressed those many days in a row,” a neighbor said

She didn’t want to be identified out of fear of retaliation, but she shared her video of three dogs believed to have been abandoned at the Coral Gables Apartments in Balcones Heights.

“Each minute is going by -- these animals are scared. They’re lonely. They’re in the dark. You know, they need help. They need care,” the neighbor said.

She said the animals were alone in an apartment for a week.

The woman messaged management and got a response back, saying, “We cannot do anything with abandoned dogs or enter his unit without permission.”

Lyndsay Hanes is the president of property management for Metric Property Management, the company that oversees the apartments.

“We have some very specific restrictions on how we can remove pets. Our lease says that we have to give a 24-hour notice,” Hanes said.

Hanes said the situation was brought to her attention Sunday, January 8, and to her knowledge, it had been a shorter period since the dogs were left alone.

Regardless, Hanes’ property manager called animal control and the police.

“The police department and animal control were still steadfast that they could not get involved until there was an eviction and a writ of possession, which we know takes weeks or months,” Hanes said.

Hanes said it wasn’t until a social media uproar that Balcones Heights officials got involved and the dogs were removed.

Lorenzo Nastasi, the director of public affairs for the City of Balcones Heights, says it’s not as simple as just going in to rescue the dogs.

“It’s a very complicated process because you have a process of notifications and things like that. It’s complicated by the fact that this is private property,” Nastasi said.

He said the dogs were safe and appeared to be healthy. The city is currently working on what to do next.

“Adhering to the different processes and legalities that have to be done in any situation regarding property, because animals, dogs, are property,” Nastasi said.

No animal cruelty charges have been filed against the owner of the dogs. That won’t happen until an investigation is done.

Hanes said they’ll proceed with either an official eviction notice or a notice of abandoned property for the apartment’s tenant.


About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

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