A 50-year-old Dallas police officer was arrested Monday night and charged with animal cruelty after several malnourished animals were found on her property, officials said.
Italy police said they arrested Dallas Police Department Sgt. Kandy Standige and charged her with the misdemeanor cruelty to nonlivestock animals at about 9 p.m. They also seized five dogs that appeared in bad health and a goat from her house.
Standige's neighbor, Sugar Roberts, told NBC 5 that Standige tries to save dogs that are scheduled to be euthanized at an Ellis County shelter, but that she doesn't care for them properly. Roberts called police when she saw a loose dog on the property that appeared to be sick.
"It’s an ongoing problem," Roberts said. "One beautiful malamute that she brought in 9 years ago now looks like a rag doll. I found him Sunday with his head hung halfway underneath the gate."
Central Baptist Church Pastor Joseph Barrett said Standige, a former Sunday school teacher, has been overextended while taking care of her sick father.
"She is the sole caretaker of him as he recovers from cancer," he said. "And she works long hours on a high-profile task force in Dallas. And she takes in stray animals who otherwise would have been euthanized."
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Neighbors told NBC that Standige was rarely home, but Barrett said she went home every two days between working and staying with her father.
"I think people have gotten the wrong idea about Kandy," Barrett said. "She’s a person with empathy and she has these animals because she loves these animals."
The charge Standige faces is a Class A Misdemeanor. She left the Ellis County Jail at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.
"I would just like to see her get some help," Roberts said.
Standige has been with the department since 1995 and was most recently assigned to the Metro Task Force, which targets high-profile suspects. She has been placed on administrative leave while internal affairs investigates.
NBC 5's Jeff Smith contributed to this report.