Seized animals returned to Liberty County shelter

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

DAYTON, Texas - The Houston SPCA on Wednesday returned more than 100 seized animals to a Dayton shelter after a judge ruled that the seizure was illegal.

The SPCA returned cats, dogs and a horse, a total of 150 animals, to Puppy Dogs R Us on County Road 6021. “I’m super, super excited,” said Margie Michalsky, who owns the shelter.

“They belong here and they're happy here,” said Volunteer Paula Ryder. “They see her [Michalsky] and they just start barking with joy.”

A judge ruled Tuesday that a search of the property last week was illegal because of a technicality: The warrant obtained by the Liberty County Sheriff's Office listed the address for the Puppy Dogs R Us kennel, but not the owner's home.

Animals were removed last week from both sites on the 20-acre facility. Officials said more than 100 dogs, several cats and a horse were found living in filthy conditions and suffering from various stages of neglect.

Michalsky faced possible criminal charges and the closure of her no-kill shelter. She said Wednesday that she takes good care of them, though she admitted that she was overwhelmed by upkeep.  Dozens of community members have since volunteered to clean up the shelter.

Houston SPCA spokesperson Kerry McKeel said the SPCA is not happy with the judge's decision to return the animals.

“We’re deeply disappointed to have to bring the animals back,” McKeel said. “Our whole mission is to prevent cruelty and suffering.”

She said she feels there is not enough staff on hand at the shelter to take care of the amount of animals they have. She hopes community members will continue stepping up to help.

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