Texas City shelter owner accused of neglect loses custody of cats

January 17, 2012 4:47:07 PM PST
After dozens of cats were seized from the Whiskerville Animal Shelter in Galveston County, a judge decided on Tuesday what to do with all the animals.

The hearing lasted several hours but after emotional testimony, the judge ruled the shelter's owner, Wydell Dixon, should not get her cats back.

Dixon doesn't dispute the fact that her Whiskerville cat shelter was found in deplorable conditions.

"This was your facility, wasn't it?" the prosecutor asked Dixon.

"Yes it was," she replied.

"This is was your passion?"

"Yes and it still is."

"And these were your babies?"

"Yes, they were."

But she and her attorney argue it was one of Dixon's employees who let the shelter fall apart while she was away for a month. Prosecutors, though, feel differently. Galveston County Animal Control officers testified that the shelter was in horrendous shape.

"Lots and lots of cats that were skins and bones, matted. The floors, walls, tables, doorknobs -- everything -- was covered in feces, urine," animal control officer Amy Snider said.

The county wanted to take away the cats permanently, and Tuesday's court hearing brought out dozens of cat lovers who felt the same way, including Dixon's own estranged daughter, Tammy Vosburg.

"I personally know several people who are waiting to adopt them, they're waiting for them to be released," Vosburg said.

Those cats are being cared for at several area animal shelters. Tuesday's ruling clears the way for the cats to eventually get adopted.

Authorities says the investigation into the shelter, its owners and workers isn't owner yet.