DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A man who reported suspected animal abuse to the city of Dallas says he wound up being cited himself for interfering with the very investigation he helped launch.
Todd Smith says it was two weeks ago when, while working as a surveyor, he noticed several dogs living in filthy conditions in South Dallas.
Cell phone video shows one dog sitting in a kennel on a home’s front porch in what he describes as three to four inches of feces.
Smith says he made a complaint to 311. “I said somebody needed to come out and come out quick.”
The next day Smith found a Dallas Animal Services (DAS) officer at the location. Video he recorded shows when he asked what had been found the officer responded, “Nothing. No one answered. I left a violation.”
Smith then suggested the officer drive to the back of the property.
A different cell phone video shows the men behind the home, where a dog can be seen with such protruding ribs that Smith nicknamed it “Bones”.
He admits he grew frustrated the officer didn’t seem to be doing enough. “I may have yelled,” he said.
Smith says he was surprised, though, when he realized the officer had called police on him.
In a recording, the DAS officer tells a police officer that Smith approached him in his work truck. The DAS officer said, “He starts screaming. He’s trying to put his head and his upper body in the truck. I told him to stop screaming and back out.”
Smith, who denies he ever tried entering the officer’s truck, received a $436 citation. It’s a fie he plans to contest in court.
“There’s a point where you need to let the professionals do their job,” said Ann Barnes, the director of field operations for Dallas Animal Services. She defended her employee’s right to issue the citation and told CBS 11 News the agency had been working with SPCA all along.
“When the investigation is going on, you can’t tell somebody what you’re doing,” she said.
Within hours, the SPCA did arrive on scene, accompanied by Dallas police. A spokesperson said, 15 dogs were rescued. The agency also recovered the remains of four dogs that had already died.
The dog nicknamed “Bones” by Smith was later euthanized at the recommendation of a veterinarian because of kidney failure.
The SPCA is still investigating who is responsible for the dogs’ condition.