From the Henderson County Sheriff's Office
On December 17, 2012, the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, aided by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas, Henderson County Adult Probation and the Henderson County Attorney's Office, executed a search warrant and animal seizure order at 2353 Rose Pointe in the Rose Pointe Addition near Athens.
This action is the result of an ongoing investigation which begin in October 2011. The Sheriff's Office contacted the SPCA of Texas in an effort to support the investigation. Information sharing and joint efforts between the Henderson County Attorney's Office, Adult Probation Office, Sheriff's Office and SPCA Investigators led to Animal Control Deputy John Haverly obtaining a search warrant and animal seizure order.
The warrant was executed at around 9:00 a.m. on Monday. The SPCA played an instrumental role in the execution of the order. They coordinated with the sheriff's office and provided assistance in the way of investigators, animal health care professionals and man power. Investigators seized 106 cruelly treated dogs - 83 live dogs, 22 live puppies and one deceased dog. The bodies of seven deceased dogs were also found on the property.
The dogs were cruelly confined, were not receiving adequate care and were forced to live in their own filth inside a feces-filled, urine-soaked home on the property. Most of the dogs are suffering from eye discharge, flea infestation, long nails, severely matted fur and skin conditions. Approximately 60 of the dogs were confined to crates and some crates included up to seven dogs. The stench of ammonia was so intense that investigators wore personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatuses insides the home. The SPCA of Texas measured the ammonia level in the residence to be 67 parts per million. As a point of reference, any ammonia level over 20 ppm or long term exposure over 12 ppm can cause health problems in humans.
The SPCA of Texas will provide care and shelter for the dogs pending a hearing set for December 21, 2012.
Deborah Eckeberger was arrested on a Motion to Revoke Community Supervision related to an October conviction for Cruelty to Animals. Eckeberger was transported to the Henderson County Detention Center and was released that day after posting a $15,000 bond.