Largest animal cruelty penalty assessed

October 1, 2009 8:12:21 AM PDT
You could say a local judge threw the book at a northwest Harris County man, the owner of a home where more than 1,000 animals were found last week.[PHOTOS: Animals seized from property]

Those animals are now in the custody of the county, and the county says the owner of the animals, Joselito Rivera Boado, is now out of business.

It is being called the largest animal cruelty case in the history of Texas.

"The conditions of the animals literally shocked the people who handle these cases," said Terrence O'Rourke with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

O'Rourke says what happened in civil court Wednesday should put the owner out of business.

"This is a case of animal trafficking is what it is. The person who owns them trades in them unlawfully," said O'Rourke.

The county was awarded custody of the more than 1,000 animals. They also have possession of the owner's property which they will sell and hope to make around $150,000 that will help pay for the medical bills and care for the animals at the SPCA.

"They seem to be responding really well, so obviously our goal is to give them a second chance at life," said Meera Nandlal of the Houston SPCA.

The discovery of the animals last Wednesday in northwest Houston has placed a huge burden on the SPCA, leaving them with animals from birds to turtles, snakes, iguanas and dogs. Virtually all of them need medical care.

"We hope for everyone who is watching that this is an example of the consequences you will have to pay if you mistreat animals," said Nandlal.

The Harris County DA could file criminal charges against the owner. Two dogs will be released to the owner's ex-wife for their children, but only after they get a clean bill of health from a veterinarian.

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