Empty food bowls, dry water bowls. Tell-tale signs, authorities say, of why six of the eight dogs in a backyard on Arber Street are visibly malnourished. Their home is in Smith County, just east of Highway 155.
"One of the dogs who was chained to the fence was trying to eat his own fecal matter a few minutes ago," Deputy Constable Natalie Smith, animal control officer with the Precinct 2 Constable's office, said.
"Why are these dogs in this condition?" I asked the woman who lived there.
"I'm going to get a lawyer if it's on the news," she responded.
She says her husband owns the dogs, so authorities from the constable's office waited for him to come home. And who did he turn out to be? Tyler Animal Control Officer, Cesar Alvarez.
"They might not have water right now," Alvarez said of his dogs. "But they get fed and watered everyday. Whether they dump it over or not, that's something I have no control over. But this is the first time out here that there's a problem. I was never given a notice."
"You, in your position, in your work, should have obviously been aware of the laws that we don't leave notices when your dogs' ribs are showing, when your dogs' spines are showing, when your dogs' pelvic bones are showing, when your dogs have no food or no water," Smith told Alvarez. "In your position, you have no excuse."
"My heart goes out to these dogs because that's the kind of dog I love," Alvarez said.
He says he's giving the pit bulls a second chance; he rescued them.
"Have you done anything wrong here?" I asked him.
"I don't think I have," Alvarez said. "I don't think I have done anything wrong, besides trying to give these dogs somewhere where they could live out their lives."
Alvarez does get to keep the two dogs he says he's had for a long time, the ones Smith says do have water. As for the other six dogs, Alvarez surrendered them to the constable's office to take to the Humane Society.
We called Tyler's Animal Control Office to ask about Alvarez. His supervisor, Gary Chambers, says he will not take any action until he gets a chance to further investigate the situation.