WESTHOFF, Texas – What started as a shopping spree for dog leashes ended in public disgrace on social media.
“Where are our rights? Torres said. “You must have rights. Do you know? Can’t record to video or “Can I record video?” ” Do you understand what I am saying? You just have to ask .”
Upon departure, the clerk took note of the many collars and leashes Diane Torres was purchasing and offered to build a new fence for her so the Westhoff resident did not need to keep the animals tied.
“I had to tie them up,” Torres said. “People are like, ‘Oh, they tie them up with chains.’ Well, I have no choice.
After the clerk inspected her property for the construction of a fence, the clerk informed a local pet rescue organization concerned about what she described as poor conditions for the dogs.
This group contacted Torres, which led to the animal rescue feeding his dogs and taking two of them for adoption. Kaitlyn Ingram was one of the rescue volunteers who came to feed Torres’ pets.
“And when we went there it was pretty bad, their water bowls are literally mud water,” Ingram said. “Food, they have no food, they only have skin and bones. We have a very bad eye, we have a deformity in our leg. I mean, it was… it was a pretty horrible scene.
“The sheriff’s department was called over this situation and we were told they had come out and checked everything,” Ingram said. “And they said because the dogs have food and water that’s okay, they aren’t, they don’t break any laws.”
While the animal rescue volunteers were there, they took to Facebook live with a video of the animals.
Torres said she was upset that aid had turned into public disgrace and fundraising for animal rescue on social media.
“Well the shelter is showing the video on their Facebook page filming my house, my dogs actually not my house but my dogs, that’s what upset me,” Torres said.
Keeping the dogs seemed better than letting them roam the freeway and possibly getting run over, Torres said.
“I think a lot of people have the idea of if I pick up a dog from the street, ‘I’m saving him,'” Ingram said. “What if you don’t have vet work done, if you don’t spay and neuter these animals and let them all procreate on your property.”
“My daughter brought her stupid dog from Cuero here,” Torres said. “I told him to tie it up, ‘Tie it up,'” Torres said. “Oh, now mommy is over there… yeah, let them run and mum hasn’t been fixed. So this is it. “
“Then you have people like this who have nine dogs on their property that all look hungry,” Ingram said. “I mean and they live on chains and don’t have suitable housing for them.”
Torres works $ 13 an hour at McDonald’s in Cuero and can barely afford to feed himself and his son. The expense of owning a pet is too much for a single mother to handle.
“Just help me, don’t hurt me,” Torres said. “Help me.”
We spoke with DeWitt County Sheriff Carl Bowen who said there is no limit to the number of pets per household where Diane lives. In order for animal neglect to reach the criminal level, Bowen said intent must be demonstrated. The animal cruelty bill passed by state lawmakers earlier this year would have made tying your pet in heavy chains a crime, but the Outdoor Dog Safety Act was instead vetoed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott during the summer.
Since then the bill has been reintroduced at the third extraordinary session and supporters await the governor’s signature. If enacted, the Safe Outdoors Dogs Act would come into effect in January.
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