Breckenridge Texan

Animal shelter dog neglect case sent back to Police Department for additional information

Animal shelter dog neglect case sent back to Police Department for additional information
March 01
08:57 2022

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

The ongoing criminal investigation into the animal cruelty case at the Breckenridge animal shelter has been returned to the Breckenridge Police Department for further investigation, according Stephens County Attorney Gary Trammel.

Several dogs at the Breckenridge Animal Facility were found to be malnourished and in unclean kennels when in early January, according to the Stephens County Humane Society. (Courtesy Photo)

The criminal investigation was launched in January when an animal control officer for the City of Breckenridge reportedly resigned after several malnourished dogs were found at the Breckenridge Animal Facility, located at 601 N. Dubois.

Kathy O’Shields, the president of the Stephens County Humane Society, described the animals as emaciated and starving in a complaint letter that she submitted to Breckenridge City Manager in January. A veterinarian who examined the animals said they were “simply malnourished,” O’Shields said.

Several of the dogs were being held at the shelter at the request of the Humane Society after they were taken from their original owners due to alleged misdemeanor charges of failure to provide food, shelter and water for the animals. The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the claims against the dogs’ original owners. That case is still pending.

The Breckenridge Police Department, which was in charge of the animal shelter operations, investigated the situation at the shelter and forwarded the results of the investigation to Stephens County District Attorney Dee Peavy.

In a phone call on Friday, Feb. 11, Peavy said her office had reviewed the case and found that any potential charges related to the case would be Class A misdemeanor charges, so she referred it back to the County Attorney’s Office, which handles local misdemeanor cases. According to Texas Penal Code – Penal § 12.21 a person found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor can be fined up to $4,000, sentenced up to 1 year in jail or both.

“I’ve sent it to Gary Trammel for his review. And he will determine what he does from there,” she said about the case involving the City of Breckenridge. “If he thinks it rises up to the level of a felony…I would be happy to prosecute it.”

On Monday, Feb. 28, Trammel said he had received the case from the DA’s office after they reviewed the case and declined to file felony charges. He said that after he reviewed the case, he still had some questions and needed additional information to make sure the investigation is complete.

Once the case is returned to his office by the police department, Trammel said, he will recuse himself and refer it to a County Attorney Pro Tem, which will be a county attorney from one of the adjacent counties that has no connection to anybody in the case.

So far, no charges have been filed in the case and no arrests have been made.

City Manger Erika McComis and Police Chief Bacel Cantrell were not in their offices Monday afternoon, when the Breckenridge Texan called for comment on the status of the case and the investigation.

For more background details on the situation, click the links to the Breckenridge Texan’s previous articles:

Criminal investigation underway after malnourished dogs removed from city’s animal facility and one death

Our Perspective: The Breckenridge Texan, City of Breckenridge at odds over request for complaint about animal shelter

Letter to the Editor: Reader commends Breckenridge Texan coverage of animal shelter situation

 

Cutline, top photo: Several dogs that had been at the Breckenridge Animal Facility for more than a month were described as emaciated and starving in early January. The dogs were taken to a local veterinarian who said they were “simply malnourished,” according to the Stephens County Humane Society. (Courtesy Photo)

 


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