Animals rescued from 'disturbing' conditions

February 17, 2011 3:17:28 PM PST
Authorities made a disturbing find on a property on Houston's south side -- several dead animals. Officers moved in on Thursday to rescue many more alive but in deplorable conditions.

Neighbors tipped off investigators to the property saying something needed to be done. The animal rescue happened on a property on Telephone Road near Almeda Genoa.

The animals were doing a lot better by the afternoon, even though they're malnourished and still have a lot of medical issues to deal with.

Animal control officers descended upon the unmaintained land where dozens of goats, pigs, chickens and calves called home -- until now. They lived among filth that included carcasses of dead animals.

It was Donna Meyer who first made the call to Houston Animal Control.

"I think it's fantastic," she said. "I just wish they could have done it sooner; I hate to see animals had to die because of this situation"

Meyer, who manages a trailer park next door, first noticed the farm animals when they escaped from the compound to search for food along roads and in other people's yards.

"They would go up on the ports and eat their plants and all that stuff, and then I would hear about it," Meyer said.

Officers got into the property Wednesday. After finding a deplorable scene, they were able to obtain a seizure warrant and rescued 33 animals Thursday.

"And when officers came out yesterday there was no food or water for them; they were starving," Animal Control Supervisor Jarrad Mears said.

Houston police say the property belongs to Jonathan Cao. Cao, who kept us off his property, could face several charges. But the first priority is getting these goats, calves, and pigs into better surroundings.

"I think it's a sad thing, it's not right to see an animal starve to death, or be heavily infested with parasites," Dr. Timothy Harkness with the Houston Humane Society said. "Now we'll rehabilitate them and they'll turned out to nice pastures and people will take care of them," Harkness said.

The farm animals will be rehabilitated at the Houston Humane Society. A hearing for next month has been scheduled, and that's when the organization is expected to get custody of the animals.

Any charges that could be filed against Cao will be up to the Houston Police Department.