WINONA, Texas (KETK) – Two people were arrested on charges of animal cruelty in Winona, following the Jan. 21 seizure of 38 dogs from a property, that was initially a rescue.
Tina Loper, 53, and Eric Morris, 55, were charged with eight counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals, with two of those charges being felonies due to the death of one dog and the severity of another dog’s condition. Loper was arrested and released on Wednesday on a collective bond of $100,000. Morris was arrested and released on Friday, also on a collective bond of $100,000.
According to the affidavit, the location was initially a rescue called Dog Days Ranch and Rescue that turned into a hoarding situation. On Jan. 4, the Smith County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office was notified that animal control was at the location on FM 1252 for a welfare check on numerous dogs. Constable Josh Joplin said that animal control was requesting a peace officer to come to the location to determine if there was enough evidence for animal cruelty.
Upon arrival, the affidavit stated that the majority of dogs on the property had either no water; or no clean drinking water, empty food bowls and were living with large amounts of old and new feces in their enclosures. One of the kennels had the entire roof inside which the affidavit states limited the dog’s movement and was a hazard to the animal.
According to the affidavit, eight dogs on the property had serious health conditions like:
- Open wounds
- Distended abdomen (bloat)
- Tooth problems
- Leg injuries
Constable Joplin contacted the SPCA for availability for the injured or sick dogs and Morris agreed to surrender the dogs suffering from illnesses or injuries.
On Jan. 10, Constable Joplin met with Loper for a follow up visit and during the visit, she said “we made a lot of mistakes.” According to the affidavit, before the visit, she said that several rescues would be at the location picking up dogs. Loper said that she had not taken in any more dogs but that she was told to get her numbers down by Smith County and she had not, but that she would.
She reportedly asked about one of the dogs named JoJo and officials let her know that the dog had been euthanized. She agreed to voluntarily surrender the rest of the animals and said she would do what is best for the dogs.
The dogs were surrendered to the Humane Society of the United States and taken to Maryland. Photos from the seizure of the dogs are pictured below.