ETX duo accused of animal cruelty; dogs seized from property

ETX duo accused of animal cruelty; dogs seized from property
Titus County Sheriff's Office

POSTED: Friday, July 18, 2014 - 9:59am

UPDATED: Friday, July 18, 2014 - 2:20pm

Authorities are searching for an East Texas man after deputies found emaciated dogs in Titus County. One other person has already been arrested in connection to the case.

On Tuesday, law enforcement was called to the 800 block of County Road 1925 after a tip about starving dogs on the property. When deputies arrived, they found three adults dogs and several puppies in extreme stages of malnourishment.

From the road, authorities could see a dog with a protruding rib-cage and a waist diameter shrunken to less than half of a normal dog of its size. The animal was chained in an area of the driveway where no source of water or food was available.  Another dog was also found on the property with a chain and was severely malnourished and dehydrated.

A third malnourished dog was seen running around the yard with puppies, but appeared to be in better shape than the two dogs chained, most likely due the animal's freedom to locate other limited sources of food and water. Deputies believed the dogs had not been properly cared for in weeks or possibly longer.

Based on visual evidence and the advanced stages of dehydration and starvation of several of the animals present, emergency steps were taken to seize the pets to stop their suffering.

Investigators determined Michael Wayne Mathis and Stephanie Shannon Smith were responsible for the dogs. Warrants were issued for the arrest of both suspects for cruelty to a non-livestock animal. Smith was found and arrested on July 16, but authorities are still searching for Mathis.

The Mount Pleasant Animal Control assisted with the seizure of the dogs.




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