SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and Bexar County Animal Control seized 80 animals on Thursday morning from a home on the far Southwest Side.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said a criminal tip led to the discovery of the puppy mill near Kinney Road off South Interstate 35, not far from Atascosa.
“A grotesque situation that we found in there,” Salazar said, adding the puppy mill was operated by a 79-year-old man.
Sixty of the animals were dogs, and eight were found dead, Salazar said. They also found several poultry animals and a goat that had injuries to its neck after being chained.
Salazar said the man was feeding them old hamburger and hot dog buns and water.
“He is not even bothering to open the bag he is just throwing the whole plastic bag full of bread in there and letting the dogs open it for themselves when they get hungry enough,” Salazar said.
The sheriff said the heat was another concern. He said all of the animals were being kept outside in the shade but described it as kennels on top of kennels with several puppies in a kennel, even pregnant dogs sharing kennels ready to give birth as soon as today.
“Some of these females, the momma dogs that are about to give birth, they are in there with other dogs,” he said. “I’m not an animal expert but I know that a momma dog can’t give birth to puppies around other adult dogs, and not expect bad things to happen to those puppies as they are born.”
The animals are now in the possession of Bexar County Animal Control.
“We see this as a public health issue in two ways,” said Dr. Andrea Guerrero-Guajardo, director of Bexar County Preventative Health & Environmental Services. “The health of the animals as a public health issue and the health of the homeowner as well.”
Veterinarians will soon be checking their health. Eligible dogs could be up for adoption in as soon as two weeks, said Dr. Guerrero-Guajardo.
Bexar County’s S.M.A.R.T. team spoke with the man at his home.
“They were able to make an assessment of the homeowner on site to make sure that he was able to make the decisions he was, to relinquish the animals, assessed his physical health, and had a discussion with him out there,” said Dr. Guerrero-Guajardo.
Currently, the man is not facing any charges. The sheriff said he is cooperating with deputies. However, if he does face charges they could potentially be animal cruelty charges.
“When you are laying in your own filth, eating bread that is at best a couple days, weeks old, that is a horrible situation for any living being,” Salazar said.