Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge animal shelter dog neglect case under review by Eastland County Criminal District Attorney

Breckenridge animal shelter dog neglect case under review by Eastland County Criminal District Attorney
May 06
12:53 2022

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Eastland County Criminal District Attorney Brad Stephenson confirmed on Friday, May 6, that the animal neglect case at the Stephens County Animal Shelter involving the Breckenridge Police Department has been turned over to his office and is under review for possible prosecution. Stephenson said he has asked Texas Ranger Bo Brown, who covers Eastland and Stephens County, to also review the file.

The investigation came about after several dogs at the City facility were discovered in early January to have been malnourished and neglected, with one dog allegedly having died. Additionally, the city’s animal control officer at the time reportedly resigned after the situation was discovered. The dogs were removed from the facility by the Stephens County Humane Society and taken to a local veterinarian and then fully recovered in another facility, according to those familiar with the case. Stephens County Attorney Gary Trammel referred the case to the Eastland County Criminal District Attorney’s office after he recused himself from the case.

Stephenson said his office spent a fair amount of time reviewing the case on Thursday but that he is not ready to make a statement to the press on what actions they will take on the case.

“I will tell you that I have consulted with a Texas Ranger and he’s going to help me review that file,” Stephenson said. “I do believe that there will be some charges filed on the case.”

Stephenson said that the charges that are being considered are not felonies. “They will definitely not be felonies,” he said. “They’re misdemeanor local cases. We’ve reviewed the statutes, and there’s no felony offenses whatsoever. They are strictly misdemeanors.”

Any charges that could be filed in the case are Class A misdemeanors, which carry a punishment range of up to 365 days in the county jail, a fine not to exceed $4,000, or both, Stephenson said.

“I don’t know at this juncture what’s going to be relevant or what kind of offer will be made on it, but I’m extremely satisfied with the investigation,” he said. “The reports that are contained and the information that Mr. Trammel sent to me…he’s given us everything that we need to do a thorough examination. … I’ve asked the Texas Ranger to assist in that and review the files.”

Stephenson said it will probably be about two weeks before he files anything.

“You know these things take some time,” he said. “I’ve just done the first major run through myself. I gave it to my investigator; he’s been through the file. He and I are pretty much in agreement.”

He said the Texas Ranger involved, like other DPS personnel, is making rotations to the border for duty, and it will probably be a week to 10 days before he can meet with him.

“Before I file anything, I want to have the opportunity to meet with (Texas Ranger Bo Brown) and see that he agrees with me,” Stephenson said. “I think he will, but under the circumstances…everything I’ve read about this case…quite frankly, I want the people of Breckenridge and Stephens County to be comfortable that this was properly investigated … and reviewed properly.”

At this time, no charges in the case have been filed and no arrests have been made.

For more background details on the situation, click the following 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

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

Police chief addresses questions about Animal Shelter investigation

City of Breckenridge hires new animal control officer, makes changes at animal shelter


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