Thursday morning, SPCA officials from Dallas, along with local authorities seized twenty-two sheep, twenty-six cats, and thirty-seven dogs from a home just outside of Canton.
"These poor little kittens are living up here with no shelter. They're completely soaked from the rain, plus they're litter boxes are over running and full the food that they have is wet and stale," says Dave Garcia, SPCA Vice President.
Dogs and cats were found in cages filled with feces, most without water. SPCA workers say all of the animals were underweight and suffering from upper respiratory problems.
"You can tell that it's covered with dirt and such so their not getting any air," says a worker, pointing to a trailer house vent where at least a dozen cats were kept, "This is the only air-in the hot summer- that these animals are getting."
Owner, Linda Williams, is suspected of breeding and selling her animals at a local flea market.
"A lot of people out there looking for pure bred animals and they'll get them any way they can and they don't look into the background or the past. They don't ask to see the animals parents," says Anita Edson, SPCA Media Relations Director.
Over the past six months animals have been seized from three different locations in van Zandt county, but puppy mills are popping up all over the state.
"I think they're growing in the state of Texas because they aren't regulated. There are no regulatory forces in the state of Texas to look at breeders who are breeding these dogs for sale at trade days, at flea markets," says Garcia.
One reason the mills are growing so quickly is the money involved with the business. Purebred animals can make owners anywhere from three-hundred to one thousand dollars apiece,a steep price for these animals to pay.
"I've been an investigator for twenty years and I have always fought emotionally with man's inhumanity to animals. I'm always amazed that individuals think this is OK," says Garcia.