Sunday, August 16, 2009





  600 dogs rescued from puppy mill
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PRAIRIEVILLE–Nearly 600 dogs, mostly grown, are being kept at an undisclosed location after being rescued from deplorable conditions just outside of Prairieville Tuesday.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Volunteers from United Animal Nations and Emergency Animal Rescue Services are kept busy seeing to the needs of nearly 600 dogs.

The dogs, mostly small breeds, Chihuahuas, toy poodles, beagles and Yorkshire terriers, were being kept at Klassy Kennels under what has been described as “some of the very worst conditions.”
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) closed down the “puppy mill” Tuesday at 11082 Farm-to-Market 90.
Kennel owner Margaret (Peggy) Boyd, 72, faces animal cruelty charges.
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Volunteers from around the country descend on Kaufman County to help care for nearly 600 breeding dogs and 15 cats after a raid on Klassy Kennels near Prairieville Tuesday.
Boyd told a television news reporter that “if loving the animal is a criminal, then maybe I’m a criminal, because I work 6 o’clock in the morning until 11:30 at night taking care of these animals.”
As of Thursday, no arrests had been made while the investigation continues, Kaufman County Sheriff public information officer Pat Laney said.
Volunteers from United Animal Nation, Emergency Animal Rescue Service and others are caring for the dogs, housed in wire kennels and treating a variety of serious health conditions derived from constant confinement under unsanitary conditions.
The HSUS received notification of a possible puppy mill by Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake general manager Krista McAnally.
On Aug. 6, a woman came to the Tool animal shelter asking for dog food, saying she had run out and saw that the shelter had recently received a great deal of dog food, shelter board president Tamara Rhodes told The Monitor.
When asked how many dogs she had, she answered 400. This information set off all kinds of alarm bells, Rhodes said. When she was offered help with culling down the number of dogs, the woman was adamantly opposed to any of her dogs going to an animal rescue group or being put up for adoption.
She was given enough dog food to get her through the weekend, with the promise that on Tuesday, the shelter could probably bring some more to her, and her telephone number was obtained, Rhodes recounted.
A phone call to a contact the shelter had at HSUS started the ball rolling.
Within 24 hours, an investigator from the organization was assigned to the case and came out with a plan for getting photos from inside the property.
“The woman was told the shelter may have some buyers for some of her animals, if they could take some pictures to show them,” Rhodes said. “And she let them in.”
With the photos, the sheriff was able to obtain a search warrant.
Before they went in there Tuesday, the HSUS had called on United Animal Nations, who brought in several large air-conditioned trailers with kennels, food and supplies, and had them on the ground and ready to roll, Rhodes said.
“Even with the number of trailers, it took two trips to get all the animals out,” she added.
Most of the supplies were provided by PetSmart Charities, which set its Emergency Relief Waggin full of donated goods, such as wire crates, dog food and bedding.
Many of the dogs suffered from severely matted fur and chronic infected wounds, internal and external parasites and serious skin and eye infections.
The HSUS advises those seeking a pet to:
• adopt one from an animal shelter, or
• find a reliable breeder and visit the premises in person to see how the parent dogs are living and the conditions in which the puppy was raised.
Responsible breeders house their dogs as family members and do not keep them confined to cages.
• don’t be fooled by common claims made by pet stores.
Good breeders do not sell to pet stores, because they want to meet the families who are buying their puppies.
• don’t trust websites.
Many puppy mills the HSUS has raided in recent years have hidden behind such websites, promising “family raised” puppies.
• don’t “rescue” a puppy mill puppy by buying him. Your purchase only helps to support a cruel industry.


Man who raped, ran over girl sentenced to 50 years
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Aug. 7, 173rd District Court Judge Dan Moore sentenced an Athens man to 50 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and then running over a 12-year-old girl in Cherokee Shores last year.
Joshua Harold Golmon, 31, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault last month, and elected to have Moore sentence him. The sentencing was originally set for July 27, but was postponed by request of the Defense until Aug. 7.
According to information provided by the Henderson County District Attorney’s Office, the 12-year-old victim testified during the trial.
She told the jury that she was walking to a friend’s house just before dark when Golmon, driving a white Chevrolet Trailblazer, grabbed her and forcibly put her in his vehicle. Golmon then drove the victim to a remote pasture where he beat and sexually assaulted her.
The victim also testified that after sexually assaulting her, Golmon left her lying in the pasture, got back in his vehicle and intentionally ran her over while leaving the scene.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators combed the pasture and found underwear, tire marks and a cell phone.
The cell phone belonged to Golmon.
Lead investigator Maj. Kevin Hanes testified that had Golmon not dropped his cell phone at the scene of the crime, he may have never been caught.
Assistant District Attorneys Nancy Rumar and Lenda Burnett prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
In Rumar’s opening statement to the jury, she told the jury that “children are our most innocent and precious treasures.”
During closing arguments, Rumar asked the jury to hold Golmon accountable.
During the sentencing hearing, Rumar introduced evidence of other crimes Golmon committed, which included an injury to a child conviction.
Golmon did not take the stand.
District Attorney Scott McKee indicated that he was pleased with the sentence.
“Golmon got his day in court, and has a long time to reflect about what he did,” McKee said. “Unfortunately, the victim will live with this for a lifetime.
“I hope this sentence serves as a reminder to those who prey on our children that we are not going to tolerate these types of crimes,” McKee added.


Turf claim denied
EISD changes insurance, keeps same tax rate
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–What insurance?
Eustace Independent School District trustees heard Aug. 3 their insurance carrier, Trident, denied the district’s claim for damage to the artificial turf in Bulldog Stadium.
In response, the trustees voted unanimously to rescind their July 21 acceptance of Trident’s bid for property and liability insurance coverage, and will seek bids from other insurance carriers.
The district also will be seeking bids on repairing the stadium turf, damaged by joyriders July 18.
Trident said vandalism damage to the artificial turf was not listed in the district’s policy, EISD superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe explained Tuesday.
Where will the money come from to fix the turf, and how much will it cost?
“We’re very fortunate to have money in our fund balance,” Holcombe said. “Of course, that is not the first thing I would want to do. I would rather spend that (fund balance) money some other way.”
As far as cost goes, Holcombe couldn’t say.
“There’s been some numbers thrown around,” he said. “I wouldn’t venture a guess right now. We’ll just have to see when the bids come in.”
Trustees will be looking at insurance bids, and maybe turf repair bids, at their regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 18.
The major item on the agenda at Monday’s called meeting was to consider a proposed tax rate for the upcoming 2009-10 school year.
Trustees unanimously proposed keeping the same tax rate as last year, $1.258 per $100 valuation.
That’s broken down into $1.04 for Maintenance & Operation (M&O) and 21.8 cents for Interest & Sinking (I&S, or debt service) – again, the same as last year.
Property values have increased across the district, so for taxpayers whose property has gone up in value, keeping the same tax rate will mean a slight increase in actual tax levy. How much the increase will be depends on the individual property’s value.
A closed session for discussions with the district’s attorney was on the agenda, and attorney John Hardy and his son were present, but trustees determined there was no need for the closed session.


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