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March 7, 2014

Palestine man arrested on animal cruelty charges

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Anderson County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a Palestine man Thursday morning on animal cruelty charges after seizing nine dogs from a residence on ACR 415 earlier this week that were living in “deplorable” conditions.

Terry Glenn Tawater, 46, of Palestine was detained by deputies after being stopped in the Neches area at about 11 a.m. Thursday. He posted bond, set at $3,500, at about 5 p.m. Thursday.

According to Sheriff Greg Taylor, his office received a call on Friday concerning the welfare of animals at a residence in the 1600 block of Anderson County Road 415.

“We went out there on Friday, but were not able to do anything because of the number of animals involved,” Taylor said. “We obtained a warrant to gain entry into the residence and, on Monday, seized nine dogs, who were taken to the local Humane Society.”

Anderson County Animal Control Officer Colten Covington, along with City of Palestine Animal Control Officer Terry Garner, BARC The Humane Society workers and Sheriff's Office investigators worked the scene.

“Upon arrival at the scene, about 15 dogs — of various ages, sizes and breeds — fled the residence and they were able to catch nine of them,” Taylor said. “There were numerous skeletal remains, feces and urine inside the residence.

“The dogs had chewed through the front door and the walls of the house. The house was destroyed.”

The seized dogs, Taylor said, were mainly suffering from mange and “filth.” Traps have been set to capture the remaining six dogs.

“The (seized) animals were in reasonably good health — they had been fed,” Taylor said. “It was the condition of the residence that was so deplorable — the worst I have seen. You could not walk without stepping in feces and everything was covered in urine — the floors, the walls, the bed, clothing on the floor.”

The next step, the sheriff explained, is a hearing to determine who will obtain custody of the animals, which would likely be the local animal shelter, BARC The Humane Society. Tawater will then face trial for the charges in the court of Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Westley.

“It is just sad to see any animals living in these conditions,” the sheriff said Tuesday.

Animal cruelty is a Class A Misdemeanor

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