Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19520
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull), goat
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Judge(s): Kristi DeCluitt

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012

County: McLennan

Disposition: Not Charged

Persons of Interest:
» Harold Plagens
» Fran Plagens

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

It's one of the largest puppy mill raids in McLennan County history.

Seventy-eight dogs and at least 30 goats were rescued after the county received a complaint about the animals in Riesel.

But deputies found more than just animals.

"The deputies estimated that they observed probably around 27 skeletal remains of what was probably dogs and goats at the scene. I also observed myself, a couple different burn piles that, there were bones and things of that nature that were left," Chief Deputy Randy Plemons said.

The dogs were over bred and left in cages without food or clean water.

Now the dogs are being vaccinated and treated for disease at the Humane Society of Central Texas, increasing their occupancy by 20 percent.

"Seventy-eight animals is a huge strain on our staff, our labor, all of that situation comes into play," Humane Society of Central Texas Director and spokeswoman, Gina Ford said.

The sheriffs office believes they know where the owner, Harold Plagens, was selling the dogs. But they are still investigating and no charges have been filed. But if Plagens' ownership is revoked on his April 9th court date, the dogs may be put up for adoption.

For now, the Humane Society needs your help.

"We need food donations and we need people to temporarily foster the animals we already have," Ford said.

Centex Humane Society in Killeen is also taking in dogs and donating food to Waco.

But the Humane Society says the only way to stop puppy mills:

"Don't buy an animal, adopt one. If the market is not there, they're not going to keep breeding if they can't make money," Ford said.

Case Updates

The Humane Society of Central Texas was granted custody Monday of 78 dogs seized from a rural property outside of Waco on March 29.

After a hearing that lasted almost five hours, McLennan County Justice of the Peace Kristi DeCluitt ruled that the dogs were living in unreasonable conditions without adequate food and water, and that the animals had been cruelly confined.

DeCluitt also ruled that nearly 30 goats seized from the property off Highway 6 near Riesel should remain at a private facility with which McLennan County has contracted.

Sheriff's deputies and detectives testified that the seizure stemmed from complaints about the conditions in which the animals were being kept and about how often they were being fed.

Several deputies testified that the dogs were found living in mud, mixed with their own feces and urine.

The owners of the dogs, Harold and Fran Plagens, said that the mud was the result of a recent 6-inch rainfall and said the feces had not been in the dogs living area for an extended period of time.

Deputies also testified that the skeletal remains of a number of goats were found on the property, near where other goats were confined.

Harold Plagens said the goats were victims of the drought, and because of a burn ban that was in effect he was unable to dispose of the their corpses.

The couple testified that none of the animals in their care had received rabies vaccinations, but said all of them received other necessary vaccines annually.

Decluitt also ruled that the Plagens are responsible for the costs incurred for care of the animals, including veterinary exams and vaccines.

So far, those costs total $11,340.

"We are pleased with Judge Decluitt's decision," said Gina Ford, director of the Humane Society of Central Texas in Waco.

"She did feel the conditions were of a cruel nature and that the animals are going to be with us, for right now."

The Plagens had not decided late Monday afternoon whether to appeal the ruling.
Source: - Apr 9, 2012
Update posted on Apr 9, 2012 - 11:13PM 


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