PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – Palestine Police removed a dozen dogs from a residence and two a father and son have were arrested, according to officials. Three of the dogs were not able to survive, and the rest were taken to a local humane society.
An investigation began, officials said, after an officer observed the animals living in “awful conditions at the residence.”
According to officials, the residence allegedly did not have water or electricity and the owners were apparently living in their truck, which was parked in the carport, while the animals lived inside the house.
Initially, the owners reportedly agreed to surrender eight of the 12 animals. However, due to the animals’ living conditions, officers told the two that they would obtain a warrant to seize all of the animals, after which the owners complied and surrendered the dogs.
“They were in a cage, they were outside, they didn’t seem to have water or food, so the officer approached the house to see if the animals were ok,” said Sgt. Joe Tinsley with the Palestine Police Department.
Palestine Police, Animal Control and Code Enforcement were on the scene while the animals were being removed, and officials said a father and son have been arrested on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.
“This is not a puppy mill,” said Tinsley. “This is some people that were trying to take care of these dogs, and they were struggling to take care of themselves, and the dogs were suffering greatly.”
Dennis Cox Jr., 49, and his son Dakota Cox, 22, of Palestine, after surrendering the animals, allegedly admitted to the possession of drugs after officers observed what was believed to be cocaine and other pieces of paraphernalia on the hood of the truck in which they were living.
“When they were arrested, they gave us permission to take the dogs and take care of them,” said Tinsley. “Now we’re doing the best we can, but our shelter here is going to need help.”
Officials were not able to save all 12 dogs.
“They have nine dogs that survived, and the other three weren’t able to survive,” said Tinsley. “They were just on death’s step with just completely no hair left; they were really in bad shape.”
The dogs that did survive are available for adoption. They were taken to the BARC Humane Society in Palestine.
Dakota has been charged with possession of a controlled substance less than one gram, tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair, possession of marijuana less than two ounces and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dennis was charged with possession of a controlled substance less than one gram, possession of marijuana less than two ounces and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional animal cruelty charges are pending.