Athens, Tx — Seven dogs have been found dead and another 106 cruelly treated dogs were seized by the SPCA near Athens.
On Monday, at 9:00 a.m., authorities found 83 dogs and 22 puppies at a suspected Henderson County puppy mill, located at 2353 Rose Pointe.
According to the SPCA, the animals were cruelly confined, not receiving sufficient care and were forced to live in their own filth inside a feces-filled, urine-soaked home on the property. Most of the dogs were allegedly suffering from eye discharge, flea infestation, long nails, severely matted fur and skin conditions. About 60 of the dogs were confined to crates, and some crates included up to seven dogs.
Sheriff's officials began investigating the house back in October of 2011. Once law enforcement discovered the poor conditions of the animals, they contacted the SPCA for support.
The stench of ammonia was so intense that detectives wore personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatuses while inside the home. The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level in the residence to be 67 parts per million (ppm). As a point of reference, short term exposure to any ammonia level over 20 ppm or long term exposure to any level over 12 ppm can cause health problems in humans.
The dogs have been taken to the SPCA of Texas' Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, where they will be cared for until a custody hearing on Friday, December 21, at 10:30 a.m in Poynor.
Deborah Eckeberger, 59, has been arrested on cruelty to animals. She has been released on $15,000 bond.
Puppy mill owners breed dogs for the purpose of selling the puppies for a profit, and the living conditions of the dogs comes a distant second. If you suspect you've found a puppy mill, the SPCA of Texas encourages you to report inhumane conditions and animal neglect to your local law enforcement agency and to the SPCA of Texas at www.spca.org/knowpuppymills.