Authorities have lambasted pet owners in Texas for leaving their animals out to fend for themselves in the freezing temperatures, even charging one man with animal cruelty.
Six dogs were left outside of an unnamed auto body shop in Southwest Houston on Monday, including one that was found dead and partially covered in snow, the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has revealed.
Officers with the Houston Police Department Major Offenders and the Houston SPCA also found an emaciated dog on the property. Temperatures at the time registered in at 18 degrees.
The five remaining dogs were placed in the care of the Houston SPCA veterinary team while a hearing for their owner – who was unidentified – was scheduled at a later date.
‘You can’t leave an animal outside in extreme weather to fend for themselves and not have dire consequences like this,’ said Adam Reynolds, chief animal cruelty investigator for the Houston SPCA. ‘We have zero-tolerance when it comes to cruelty.’
On Thursday, deputies with the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force seized eight dogs and a pig from a Crosby home on the 18000 block of Oak Lane.
Barton Ray Wike, 35, was detained and charged with eight counts of animal cruelty. The animals were taken to the Houston Humane Society where they were evaluated and treated.
‘It’s a crime to leave animals outside in sub-freezing temperatures,’ Ted Heap, Harris County Constable Precinct 5, said in a statement. ‘We have a zero tolerance policy when investigating these kinds of reports.’
Meanwhile, one mom has told how her daughter was left devastated when her fish tank froze over despite being stored in her bedroom.
Reni King, 26, from Amarillo, took to TikTok this week to show how the water in the large tank was frozen solid in the cold — with their pet molly fish somewhere inside the block of ice.
The footage showed the shocked mom walking into her daughter’s bedroom and seeing the frozen water.
‘Look at my daughter’s fish tank,’ she said. ‘Oh my gosh…Yeah, that fish is dead.’
Texans have scrambled trying to save animals left out in the cold, with volunteers rushing to save sea turtles off the southern coast of the state.
Primarily Primates, a non-profit sanctuary in Bexar County, Texas, revealed that at least 12 animals had died, including monkeys, lemurs and one chimpanzee as they rushed to evacuate all of them off the massive 78-acre property.
‘Every animal matters to us and we are devastated,’ Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, said in a Wednesday press release. Friends of Animals has managed the sanctuary since 2007.
‘We know this unprecedented Arctic blast is taking a toll on humans, which is why we are so grateful to the San Antonio Zoo staff for helping us transport and care for animals as well as the more than 60 volunteers who have organized meetups and driven their 4x4s in treacherous conditions to bring us supplies. Their kindness brings some comfort during this nightmare. They are heroes, and so are our staff members.’
One of the casualties from the storm was Violet, a 58-year-old chimpanzee and the oldest at the sanctuary. While the release notes the chimpanzee didn’t die from hypothermia, she did most likely die from a stroke.
The release describes Violet as being young at heart who enjoyed exploring her habitat and watching the waterfowl and other wildlife.
‘Violet, who was used in biomedical research, also liked watching movies and looking at her reflection in her care staff member’s iPhone selfie mode,’ the release states.
The sanctuary is taking donations to help get their facility back to a working standard.
The winter storm has been blamed for more than 30 human deaths in Texas and 58 across the country.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Matthew Wright