SAN ANTONIO - Twenty-nine animals, including a rooster and a hen, were seized from an East Side home Friday after animal care investigators executed a warrant there.
Officers took 18 dogs, six cats, two turtles, a tortoise and the birds from the home, according to Animal Care Services.
Dora Garcia said it has been difficult for her, her cousin and aunt since ACS took their dogs away on Friday.
"I swear, I felt like my whole world was turned over," Garcia said. "I (told the ACS) officer, ' I just suffered a heart attack. Please be patient with me and let me say bye to her.'"
The animals were living in "unsanitary conditions at the home including an accumulation of animal waste and lack of water," ACS said.
Garcia said she was caring for the animals that she had rescued, adding she was planning to adopt them.
"The problem was, we had too many. We got attached to these dogs and it wasn't easy just to surrender them," Garcia said.
"I can guarantee you they were not being abused," Garcia said. "They were healthy (and) they loved us. They are probably frightened because I know (Animal) Care Services are not there with them on the weekend. They are left in the cold."
Many of the dogs were tethered inhumanely, investigators said, and some of the animals appeared to be ill, according to ACS.
ACS said the animals are in the process of receiving veterinary care, and multiple cruelty charges are pending against the homeowners.
People who lived next door to the home said the stench and barking coming from that yard was so bad they couldn't enjoy their own yards.
Alejandra Tapatio said she tried to help the owners care for the animals, but they refused.
"I asked her, like, ‘Do you need help with something?' And she said, ‘No, no, no.'"
Sandra Lynn, who visits her daughter who lives next to the home, said she also tried to get the homeowners in contact with other rescue groups to take the animals, but they weren't interested.
"I'm an animal advocate. I do rescue. I help dogs get into different homes and stuff like that, but that, I told them, ‘That's out of my league.'"
Lynn said the home next to the property in question is for sale and buyers and the real estate agent have also complained about the stench. The problems with the home started as soon as the women and their pets moved in a month ago.
One of the women who lives in the home said some pets are personal service animals. She denied any allegations of cruelty and said they were trying to get some animals back home.
Garcia said ACS officers took her cousin's service animal, "Mickey," and when they moved into their home just weeks ago, they brought all their pets with them.
"I lost my mother," Garcia said. "I know this is not about my mom, but (the dogs) were giving me comfort when I lost my mom."
Garcia said she is hoping to at least get some of their dogs back when they attend court Friday.
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