Apr 29, 2008

Fate of 40 animals seized still uncertain

Fate of 40 animals seized still uncertain

Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 11:06 AM CDT

AMANDA KIMBLE photo For the next ten days, 18 dogs, 11 cats and 11 puppies seized from the home of Iris Jean Edwards will continue to live at the Erath County Humane Society. During the waiting period, Edwards has the right to appeal the Judge Shawnee Bass’ decision.

A hearing was held Monday to try and determine the fate of 18 Dogs, 11 cats and 11 puppies seized from the home of Stephenville woman on April 19.

The 40 animals were removed from the Paddock Street home of Iris Jean Edwards, 59, following an animal control call reporting a dead dog in the street near Edwards’ home. When Animal Control Officer Frank Morecock responded to the call, eight more dogs which he was told by neighbors belonged to Edwards, were roaming free in the residential neighborhood.

Morecock approached the home and asked that Edwards turn over five of the eight dogs since three is the allowable limit according to a city ordinance. Edwards refused. Morecock then noticed that there were a large number of animals in the home, living in filth and suffering from varying stages of neglect. Morecock obtained a seizure order from Judge Shawnee Bass and was attacked by Edwards when he returned with the order and attempted to take control of the animals.
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Following her refusal to cooperate with authorities and her attack on the animal control officer, Edwards was arrested and booked into the Erath County Jail for assault of a public servant, a third degree felony, and interfering with public duties, a class B misdemeanor. She was released the following day after posting bond.

Although Edwards still faces charges stemming from her arrest, the purpose of Monday’s hearing was to determine if Edwards could have any of the 40 animals back. City ordinance would have allowed her to have up to three dogs and three cats at her residence if she was found capable of caring for the animals.

Edwards did not appear in court to plead her case. Now, the animals’ fate is in the hands of the Erath County Humane Society.

“Edwards did not come to court to dispute the seizure,” Bass said. “So, I turned the animals over to the shelter to do with as they see fit.”

Shelter manager Judy Hallmark explained that it will be more than a week before any of the animals gets a chance to be adopted.

“She (Edwards) still has 10 days to appeal the judge’s ruling,” Hallmark explained. “We won’t do anything with the animals before that 10 days has passed. Once the animals are truly ours, we will have them evaluated by a veterinarian and go from there and will adopt out those that are adoptable.”

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