Trashing East Texas: An Acre Full Of Dead Animals - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/18/06-Smith County

Trashing East Texas: An Acre Full Of Dead Animals

These are just some of the animal bones found in the illegal dumpsite found off Texas College Road in Smith County. These are just some of the animal bones found in the illegal dumpsite found off Texas College Road in Smith County.

It's an illegal dumpsite filled with household trash, building materials and dead animals. The dumpsite is located off County Road 488, just north of Loop 323 and Texas College Road. Environmental investigators believe the dead animals and trash have been piling up for decades.   The person authorities say is responsible for dumping the dead animals, is the man who's been leasing the property for 50 years. 

"I have been doing this for 11 years and to be perfectly honest I was shocked," says Smith County Environmental Investigator Danny Brasher.

Brasher takes us onto this 14 acre property most of which is a dumpsite.

"There are building materials, household trash, paint cans, sheet rock, roofing materials, shingles all is going to have to be removed off the property," says Brasher.

But the worst of it is just over this hill more than an acre covered with dead and decomposing animals.  Some of them have were dumped just recently, and the smell is unbearable. 

"We know that there are 2 mules out here but there are hundreds of cattle that have been, of what we can tell are cattle, either horses mules or cow that have been dumped out here and decade. A lot of it has gone to bone," says Brasher.

The man who put the animals on this land, 81- year old John Ruffins. He says he has leased this property for 50 years.

"I really don't think it's nobody business. I'm not bothering anybody. Nobody told me it's bothering them," says Ruffins.

Ruffins says he's been hauling the animals off for local veterinarians. He told KLTV 7 he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong.

"When I fill that hole up, I'm going to cover them up and start another one," says Ruffins.

Another concern for investigators what did these animals died of, and is there an environmental risk?

"If they died of any type of disease that disease is going right into the ground," says Brasher.

For now, though, their top priority is getting Ruffins to clean up this property.

"We will require him to burn what is left of these animals and dispose of them properly and that's about all we can do," says Brasher.

Brasher says he will leave it up to the district attorney to file charges against Ruffins. If charges are filed, Ruffins faces 2 state jail felony charges. Brasher says the landowner and the veterinarians also face possible charges.  

Karolyn Davis, reporting. kdavis@kltv.com

 

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