FLOWER MOUND (CBS 11 NEWS) – A one year old puppy stood shaking, as Flower Mound Animal Control Officer Alexis Thompson shaved off clumps of its matted hair.
“Yea, it’s bad,” said Thompson. “This is a mixture of feces, mud, dirt.”
The pup is one of fifty Maltese dogs now at the Flower Mound Adoption Center, recovering from serious neglect. Some were so weighed down in filth, when they arrived, officers say, they had trouble walking.
Tuesday, around 1:30 in the morning, a stunned driver dialed 911, after spotting the dogs along US 377.
“This is really, really weird. There are like 25 little white dogs…” she said. “They’re all over the road.”
Flower Mound Animal Control worked for more than an hour, chasing them down one at a time.
The very next morning, though, Denton County deputies found another forty Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, wandering on the road near Sanger.
Now at the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth, those dogs will also be up for adoption soon.
“Clearly they were dumped out there,” said Flower Mound Captain Richard Brooks. “I think it’d be safe to assume that these kinds of things will be occurring more frequently than in the past.”
Captain Brooks believes the dogs were left behind by breeders because of a new state law that took effect September 1.
Designed to target puppy mills, it requires breeders with more than 10 un-spayed female dogs to be licensed with the state and undergo regular inspections.
So far, though, only 87 breeders have been licensed statewide and only four in the Metroplex.
“There is many, many more breeders in this area,” said one of the few licensed breeders in the area, who asked to remain anonymous.
She claims, the puppy mills it intends to regulate are ignoring the law, while business struggling to comply are being saddled with the cost of new fees and necessary upgrades.
“A lot of people are going out of business, or they lessen their numbers so they don’t qualify to have a license,” she said.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation oversees the new licensing and inspection.
A spokesperson, Susan Stanford, said so far, the agency has received 136 applications from breeders in Texas and is working with those not yet licensed.
Stanford said, she was aware of the two incidents this week in Denton County, but did not know of any other cases of animals being dumped.
Prior to the new legislation, she said, there was no standard of care for breeding dogs or cats. Local animal control could become involved, but only when there was evidence of animal abuse.
The state is already investigating five complaints of breeders not meeting the new required standard.
Captain Brooks considers the condition of the dogs that were dumped to be a clear sign of the need for regulating large scale breeders.
“At least they’re in good hands now,” he said.
Police are searching for whoever abandoned the dogs. Those responsible for their neglect could face animal cruelty charges. Brooks, however, suspects the dogs were not likely from the area.
Anyone with information is asked to call police. Those wishing to remain anonymous can dial 972-874-3307.
The Animal Adoption Center, meanwhile, is in need of donations and families willing to adopt the dogs.
To contact the center, dial 972-874-6390.