Puppies abandoned in front of church

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - A pet carrier containing two, 6 week old puppies was abandoned in front of a church earlier this month. Pastor Thomas Ricks and his wife Jackie discovered the puppies at their church in Mineola, Macedonia Baptist Church.

The starving puppies were covered in fleas, mange and had worms.  It is unknown how long the puppies had been left outside the church. 

APET took over the care of the puppies on January 19. They were immediately taken to Winnsboro Vet. A skin scrape confirmed that they had severe and generalized sarcoptic mange.  The mange and fleas were so bad that their eyes were almost swollen shut. They had major loss of hair and were covered in scabs.

Sarcoptic mange is contagious to other animals AND humans. It is fairly easily treated as long as you are careful not to contract the disease and the animals must be quarantined from other animals.

The puppies were bathed with medicated shampoo, given medication for mange and put on oral antibiotics and antibiotic eye ointment.

By Monday, January 26, the male puppy, had become seriously ill.  The vet found that he had developed rickets, a condition caused by severe malnutrition. Although Pastor and Mrs. Ricks, as well as APET, had been providing proper nourishment, the condition of the puppies prior to being abandoned was extreme. The vet also discovered that the puppy's eye ball had ulcerated and he needed an operation to remove the eyeball.

The treatment of these conditions would be painful and expensive. In the interest of the puppy's welfare, its caretakers decided to have him humanely euthanized.

The smaller female puppy, now known as Mia, is doing a little better.  She is starting to show some indication of Rickets but they hope the condition will not progress.  Her eyes are better and skin and coat are healing.  She seems to be doing better; she is very loving.  She gets around with a great deal of difficulty.

"This whole thing could have been avoided if the owner would have been responsible and spayed the mother dog," said Sandy Hocking with APET.

APET is dedicated to reducing the number of unwanted puppies and stray or abandoned animals in Wood County through their spay and neuter program.  Last year they spayed or neutered over 1500 animals.

APET has authorized a $500 reward for information resulting in an arrest for those responsible for abandoning these puppies.  APET's research shows that abandoning dogs or cats is a crime as per Texas Penal Code Section 42.092 (b) (4) which is a Class A Misdemeanor.  Section 12.21 provides that punishment for this is a fine of $4,000 or one year in jail or both. 

If anyone has any information they should contact APET at 903-365-7521 or Wood County Sheriff 903-763-2201.