Dozens of Animals Seized from Dallas County Property

As many as 60 dogs and eight horses have been removed from a property in Dallas County on Wednesday.

NBC 5 has learned that several of those dogs are pregnant.

The property owner, Melinda Vinzant, has been charged with cruelty to livestock animals, cruelty to non-livestock animals and various warrants. She remains in the Dallas County Jail.

"The conditions inside the property are pretty deplorable," said Dr. Catherine McManus, with Dallas Animal Services.

According to Dallas Animal Services and the city of Dallas, the animals were removed from Vinzant's property on the 5800 block of Margewood Street. The property sits on almost two acres of land and the home is about 1,000 square feet.

McManus said the conditions inside the home and on the property wouldn't be considered fit for humans or animals.

Approximately eight horses and 53 dogs were taken into custody by Dallas Animals Services and there appears to be several dogs that appear to have died on the property, according to McManus.

At least 16 of the dogs are mixed-breed puppies about 10-weeks-old or younger, and at least two dogs are pregnant adult females.

"There is evidence of food being around," said McManus. "Empty bags of food and the dogs are in pretty decent body condition."

The Dallas Police Department, Dallas Marshall's Office and code compliance were also on scene as the animals were being moved from the location.

"At this point there are multiple violations, so the team, DPD, the code department and animal services and the community prosecutor will be working together to determine the full extent of the charges," said Jody Jones, manager of Dallas Animal Services.

Vinzant also owns a feed store in Irving. Animal services alerted Irving police to her arrest and requested that officers check out the store for any potential violations.

Police said they first became aware of the conditions the animals were living in last September, and they were working with Vinzant to get her house up to compliance.

Since then, Vinzant has received a total of 40 citations. Police showed up Wednesday morning with a warrant and seized the animals.

McManus said the dogs are all in good medical shape, but many of the seized dogs have behavioral issues that need to be worked on before they’re up for adoption.

“I think medically, in the end, they’ll be okay," McManus said. "I think the biggest hurdle will be behavioral issues and making them suitable for adoptable homes.”

Because all of the animals are part of an active criminal investigation, they can not be viewed by the public or adopted out until after Vinzant’s custody hearing, which is set for next Wednesday at 9 a.m.

“We’ll probably have them for a couple of weeks. So during that time, I look forward to working with them and getting to know their personalities better, and then see kind of direction we’re going to go in,” said McManus. “I really home they get in forever, loving homes and know what it’s like to be a pampered pet.”

The horses appear to be in decent condition according to McManus but the conditions they were living in appears to be the main concern.

"They're in very deep mud which is one of the concerns and they have inappropriate shelter," said McManus.

NBC 5's Jeff Smith and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

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