Judge awards 71 seized animals, money to SPCA
by MAC OVERTON
May 22, 2014 | 1024 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton<br>
LINDA LUKER, standing at left, pleads her case Friday before Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray for the return of 71 animals seized May 8 at a warehouse where Miss Luker lives near Union Grove. Dr. Terri Stevenson, who testified for the SPCA, is standing at right, while Carol Pickert, who also asked for the dogs back is seated at right. Constable Gene Dolle is seated in right foreground. Sherry Jewkes-Larsen, the judge’s secretary, is seated to the judge’s left.
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton
LINDA LUKER, standing at left, pleads her case Friday before Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray for the return of 71 animals seized May 8 at a warehouse where Miss Luker lives near Union Grove. Dr. Terri Stevenson, who testified for the SPCA, is standing at right, while Carol Pickert, who also asked for the dogs back is seated at right. Constable Gene Dolle is seated in right foreground. Sherry Jewkes-Larsen, the judge’s secretary, is seated to the judge’s left.
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“It would be a disgrace to return these animals,” Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray scolded two women who were before him in a hearing Friday afternoon.

They were trying to get 71 animals which had been seized by the SPCA of Texas May 8.

Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle said the case remains under investigation, and declined to comment about whether the women could face animal cruelty charges.

Judge Ray also awarded the SPCA $19,038.90 in restitution, and Constable Dolle $1,755.45 in restitution, but the SPCA does not expect to be able to collect any of it from Carol Pearson Pinkert and Linda Luker, the owners of the animals.

The 64 dogs, six cats and a horse were seized from a warehouse facility in the Union Grove area where Miss Luker had been living for nine years.

Dolle testified first, saying that “I noticed cluttered, unkept, unsanitary, unhealthy living conditions for human or animal. The whole property is a fire hazard.”

“I saw dog and cat feeding bowls that were unclean with old and dried food, many open dog and cat food bags, along with numerous rodent pills and signs. This will cause all kinds of diseases and worms in the animals that eat this food.”

He said he saw make-shift and store-bought cages containing runny feces and urine.

He said that six cats were in cages and were apparently never let out because of the dogs, and dogs illegally tethered in small dog runs.

Some dogs were kept outside with little or no shelter to get out of the weather.

“I saw dogs with tumors, lumps, wounds, blind, many with hair loss, and one or two appeared to be limping,” Dolle said.

Dolle called a string of witnesses, including Dr. Terri Stevenson, DVM, of Dallas, all of whom testified that the animals were sick and living in horrid, unsanitary conditions.

Dr. Stevenson, who works with the SPCA in Dallas, said that 35 percent of the dogs were underweight, and that some had mange, ear infections, heartworms and other parasites.

“All of this could have been prevented with basic medical care,” the doctor said.

Richard Fincher of Safe Haven Equine Rescue said that the horse was 250 to 300 pounds underweight, and rated its condition as “one,” the lowest possible rating, just barely above dead.

“I know what the horse looks like to me,” said the judge. “She looks like she died and has been dug up.”

Gladewater Animal Control Officer Mark Dennison presented about 80 pictures he took showing the filth and clutter at the warehouse, and told the women, “there is no way this place is sanitary. There is nothing clean about it. This is a hoarder house. You are a hoarder. You have a problem with these animals, and neither of you should have animals ever again.”

He said the attic was “like a mausoleum—there were caskets and urns with names and dates on them going back to 1983. Miss Luker said she had lived at the warehouse for nine years, but Dennison said that apparently the hoarding had been going on for more than three decades.

SPCA investigator Troy Willman said that the warehouse had a “maze” of garbage, and a woman from the Humane Society of Northeast Texas said she was overwhelmed by “the clutter everywhere,” and was practically knocked over by the stench.

Ms. Pearson Pinkert said that Miss Luker slept “in the kitchen floor with the dogs” because she chose to do so.

Witnesses said that the kitchen floor was covered with feces and urine, and that the refrigerator containing rotting food.

Miss Luker said that she loved all the dogs, to which the judge replied “you don’t love them too well. I wouldn’t want a pig in this mess, let alone a dog.”

Several witnesses showed pictures of the cluttered unsanitary conditions.

Miss Luker insisted on testifying on her own behalf, and said that lies had been told, that the material wasn’t trash, and that the dogs weren’t kept in the area where it was present.

“We are not hoarders, and our dogs were not mistreated,” she said.

Ms. Pearson Pinkert, questioned by Dolle, said that if the dogs were returned to them, it would hard to care for them because they are being evicted May 28.

Their landlord said they were $4,250 behind on paying rent.

Under questioning by Dolle, Ms. Pearson Pinkert said that she was Miss Luker’s sole support, and that she brought rescued dogs to the warehouse to help Miss Luker get over “trauma” in her life, saying Miss Luker had been abused by her mother.

Dolle showed a picture of the living area in the house, and told Ms. Pearson Pinkert that he was primary care-giver for his aunt.

“I wouldn’t let her stay one day, one hour, one minute in that place,” he said.

He asked her if she would want to live there.

Ms. Pearson Pinkert said she wouldn’t, and it had been a while since she had checked on the condition of the animals there.

The women have 10 days to appeal, but if they appeal the ruling to county court, they have to post $51,000 in cash.

Dolle said hoarders are often delusional, and believe they are taking good care of the animals.
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