Comal County court rules against wolf-hybrid
By: James Lozada, News 9 San Antonio
The battle over 14
wolf-hybrids went to court in Comal County Friday and ended with
the arrest of the animals' owner.
The Comal County
Sheriff's Office seized the animals three weeks ago after
finding the wolf-hybrid dogs living in filth.
The owner tried to
get her animals back, however she quickly found herself in jail.
In court, picture
after picture showed the conditions Comal County sheriff's
deputies found 14 wolf-hybrids living in.
were turned over to the New Braunfels Humane Society. Comal
County paid $200 a day to care for the animals.
A court ruling
Friday decided the fate of the animals.
owner, Michelle Newman, appealed a previous court ruling. She
wanted her animals back and testified she loves them.
Brenda Chapman denied that request and awarded custody to the
humane society. She also ruled having the dogs in overcrowded
conditions was cruel.
"They were in real
small cages, there were two to a cage, there was about 3 inches
to 4 inches of their feces, their water bowls were green with
algae, they weren't being regularly maintained," Assistant
District Attorney Michael Zamora said.
proceeding, the animal's owner and her attorney deputies were
surprised when Michelle Newman was arrested for animal cruelty.
It's a class A misdemeanor that will likely carry a stiff fine.
"I don't think they
were mistreated, I think under the circumstances and an
unfortunate series of events they were temporarily confined in
less than ideal conditions, but I don't believe they were
mistreated, no," defense attorney Ramiro Estrada said.
stopped any financial support from the county to the humane
society. She also ruled the Humane Society must either find a
permanent shelter for the wolf-hybrids, or put them down.
"We've come up with
a temporary solution for 30 days and that gives other places
more time, so all I can do is hope that that's what happens,"
Humane Society Director Cheryl Kreuger said. "If they have to go
down that's sad, but it's understandable."
said, because the animals are wild and can therefore not be
faces one count of animal cruelty, but more charges could be
levied against her.
Newman told the
court if she got custody of the animals she would have visited
them every day at a friend's property in Atascosa county.
investigators testified the property had junk cars, trash and 10
dogs on it, including a pit bull chained to a truck and a
Mastiff that appeared malnourished.
The judge said the
location is unfit for humans, let alone dogs.