Adoption day brings joy after massive animal seizure at Matagorda County home

HOUSTON – The Houston Humane Society welcomed many guests to its adoption facility, hopeful they would take home some dogs in need of loving homes after they were rescued from dire conditions in Matagorda County.

What happened

Matagorda County Animal Control officers arrived at a home on FM 521 in August in order to seize animals from the property.

Animal Control officers said the woman living at the home did not initially answer the door. Deputies with the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office forced open the door, according to authorities.

READ: At least 45 dogs seized from 'horrible living conditions' at Matagorda County home, officials say

Once authorities made it inside, they said the woman complied.

Authorities said 47 dogs were inside. That number grew to 63 after all the pregnant dogs gave birth.

The seizure lasted about 2 1/2 hours, and the Houston Humane Society was called to assist.

Living conditions

Officials said seven to nine of the seized dogs were overbred females. Houston Humane Society officials said when they entered the home, a female dog was giving birth under the kitchen sink.

All of the dogs were in "horrible living conditions," according to Matagorda County officials.

Officials said puppies were living outside in the heat and the dogs were provided murky water and ant-covered food.

Inside the home, officials said dogs were forced to sit and walk in their own feces and live in cupboards below the sink.

“A lot of them were sitting in their own filth. (They) hadn’t left the kennels. ... They were left in there 24/7,” Katie Fine, with the Houston Humane Society, said.

Some of the animals had severely matted fur and eye infections, officials said.

“Our biggest thing is just getting them out of that environment (and) getting them here (to the Houston Humane Society) to be medically assessed,” Fine said.

Adoption day

On Wednesday, with the help of all the volunteers who had taken care of the dogs, Houston Humane Society had dozens of the 63 dogs ready for adoption. A line went out the door before the doors opened Wednesday at 11 a.m.

"Now they're at a place where they can really just thrive," Fine said. "When we found them, a lot of them were sitting in their own filth. We had six moms that came in. I think now we're at 63 dogs after all of the births."

After the seizure, volunteers were a key part of the dogs' recoveries, showing the dogs love they've never known.

"We just got an outpour of people willing to help," Fine said.

"It's going to make me cry just thinking about it," Sarah Steele, a mother from Sugar Land who adopted a dog Wednesday, said.

"I'm excited because I always wanted a puppy," said Steele's 10-year-old daughter, Taylor.

"We were very sad about the conditions that they were in, and we just want to give these dogs a good home," Steele said.

Instantaneously, they connected with a small puppy named Boomer who is now the newest member of the family.

However, the Steeles were not the only ones hopeful to go home with a new pet.

"She went on to be the face of Matagorda County," Fine said, describing a Maltese poodle named Angel, who was featured on KPRC 2.

Cathy and Gary Schnabel drove from Hockley to be first in line to adopt Angel.

"And I'm so glad we did," Cathy Schnabel said.

The Schnabels were heartbroken three years ago when they lost their best friend, Lucy, another Maltese poodle.

On Wednesday, their hearts were filled. The couple cried when thinking about Lucy but smiled when seeing just how well Angel got along with them.

"She is so sweet. We have Angel now," Cathy Schnabel said.

Many dogs are still up for adoption. Click here to check out the Houston Humane Society's website.