Seized animals to remain with SPCA

By: Daniel Armbruster Email
By: Daniel Armbruster Email

BONHAM, TX - Sixty four animals were seized from Brenda Neely's 501 Rescue Shelter on her private property last month. Authorities say they discovered them to be malnourished and sick. There were also skeletal remains of others. The animals, in SPCA custody, range from dogs to horses, small mammals, reptiles and a bird.

Thursday morning, Neely was at the Fannin County Court House for a hearing to determine if the SPCA would keep the animals. Many packed the courtroom to make sure Neely didn't get custody.

"She said that she wanted the dog. I thought that that would be the best place for the dog. I was under the assumption that she would have a good home out in the country," said Lisa Palevo, a former client.

Lisa Palevo said she thought she was giving her dog a good home when she turned it over to Neely, but months later when she asked about what happened to the dog, Palevo said she couldn't get a straight answer.

"I would just like to know how my dog is. If she's alive or if she's dead. If she is alive, I would like her back so I can find her a good home," said Palevo.

Not everyone is against Neely though. Camille Snider said she met Neely in January 2010. Snider said she witnessed Neely save an animal that she personally took to her.

"She not only cured Scout, that was the dog’s name, but she has him living on a 70 acre ranch," said Snider.

Snider said she feels there's more behind Neely's case that many don't know about.

"It's pretty one sided at one point and I hope all of this comes out. I hope the truth comes out, because I know she has a good heart," said Snider.

Snider and Neely's defense attorney, Bob Jarvis, argue many of the animals in Neely's care may have already been sick when they arrived.

(Jarvis)"When they come to a shelter. They're generally not in good health in the first place," said Bob Jarvis.
"(Armbruster) Are you saying that more than 60 animals were dropped off sick?"
(Jarvis) Well I can't get into the specifics but most people don't drop off healthy animals to the shelter. There's usually something wrong with the animals, said Jarvis."

The S-P-C-A said Neely neglected the animals and they're satisfied that today, before the hearing began, an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Neely. The animals will stay where they are and are officially the property of the SPCA.

Ann Barnes with the SPCA says now all 64 animals are dramatically improving and may be adoptable someday.
"The ironic thing is that all we've giving them is basic care. It hasn't been anything outrageous or costly," said Barnes, an SPCA investigator.

Neely left the courthouse with tears in her eyes and did not want to talk on camera. She may have to go through a criminal trial soon. District Attorney Richard Glaser said she faces multiple animal cruelty charges, a class A misdemeanor.

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  • by ShermanVolunteer on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:43 AM
    I've met this woman several times over the past few years, pretty much every Saturday I was in the Town Centre. She's very nice and I've had friends who have adopted animals from her. However on the days she would come out to show her dogs, the Sherman Animal Shelter would also bring out their dogs. When purchasing a shelter dog, owners receive discounts on food and vet visits. I heard this woman several times talk about buying these shelter dogs. She would buy the shelter dogs and then sell them at a higher price. THESE particular dogs were endangered by her actions. I'm not denying that people dump very sick animals at her property,or that she was able to help some animals, but the animals at the Sherman Animal Shelter did not need this woman's help.
  • by hum... on Mar 7, 2010 at 08:40 AM
    dear pet lover, why would u stop shopping at petco because they helped a woman by giving her dog food? would u rather they not eat? it sounds to me that they were trying to help these animal. how is that a bad thing? ur frustration with them doesn't make any sense to me but maybe i misunderstood what u meant.
  • by QUEEN BEE Location: SHERMAN on Mar 5, 2010 at 02:57 PM
    sensible: I do agree, except for one thing...I think "no kill" is suppose to refer to animals not having a time limit for adoption before getting the "chopping block". I think that no-kill shelters have the policy of helping all animals, but also knowing which one's are too sick to help, and would have more pain than happiness if allowed to live. I may be wrong; I just thought I'd throw that out there. Although none of what I said really applies to Neely...
  • by Bob Location: Bells on Mar 5, 2010 at 01:02 PM
    Hey Brenda you should ask for Judge Harris to take your case. He will let you go like the people in Bells with the half dead horses.
  • by Big B Location: My home on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:52 AM
    sensible, I agree with you on some of what you said. If people are going to run a shelter with a no kill policy, then they also though need to be prepared to say no at some point when they know they have the most that they can handle. I also COMPLETELY agree with you that people should have their pets spayed or neutered because that would definitely help with the pet population. Also, people really need to discuss and weigh the pros and cons of having a pet before they decide they want to have one because having a pet is not an easy task at all. Just like with anything in life, it takes work. What confuses me about the whole thing though is why, if she had so much help from people donating items and money to coming and taking care of the animals to help out, did she all of a sudden lock up the place and no longer answer calls? I also think that the SPCA and the FC sheriffs dept. should have been more thorough in their investigations, IMO. Hopefully it will all come to light soon.
  • by sensible Location: here on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:11 AM
    I love animals as much as anyone, but let's face the facts. Shelters that have a "no kill" policy will be doomed to having more animals than they can handle. There comes a time when a sick, one-eyed, three-legged animal needs to be mercifully sent to animal heaven. If everyone would spay or neuter their pets there would be less of a problem, but that is never going to happen. I think Brenda Neely has a good heart and wanted to do the right thing but she was unable to tell anyone "no" when they wanted her to take another animal and it proved to be too much for her. I am sure the task of providing for and taking care of the animals was overwhelming.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 5, 2010 at 05:16 AM
    Take all unwanted pets to the SPCA. Notify the FC sheriff's office and KXII if they turn down your request. Be prepared to tell them what the SPCA suggested you do with your unwanted or sick pet. Oh, and those you discover that have been dumped on the side of the road or abandoned in your neighborhood, call the SPCA first, then the sheriff's office, then KXII. This will shed light on whether we have a handle on the unwanted, stray, and abused animal problem.
  • by Belinda McKee Location: Sherman on Mar 5, 2010 at 04:23 AM
    Would someone please learn how to spell? What is a 70 anchor ranch??? Gee,I thought an anchor was something that immobilized a ship and an acre was an increment of land. Do you folks not proofread or just fell asleep in grammar class??
  • by Bronwyn on Mar 4, 2010 at 10:57 PM
    Back in Sept 09, I let Brenda take my Miniature Dachshund, Shadow. I had moved into a place where I was unable to maintain a pet and she had promised me, she already had a home for him. It breaks my heart to hear that my Shadow might have suffered under her care. I personally saw the condition of some of the kennels she had, but she promised me there was a woman who was looking for a dog just like Shadow she had met at PetCo. Shadow would only be staying with her for few days. I pray this is what happened. I was told she kept paperwork on all adoptions she processed. I hope someone reading this might know what happened to my Shadow, or if he might of been one of the ones rescued by the SPCA. I know Brenda had nothing but good intention when rescuing many of those animals, but she just took on too much. I'm glad the animals are now getting the care they need. I know Brenda is an animal lover, but sometimes too much love can cause harm without intentionally meaning too. I wish her luck.
  • by Pet Lover Location: Sherman on Mar 4, 2010 at 07:26 PM
    About a month ago this Neely person was working at Petco. I spoke to her. She had 3 dogs there for adoption. Not only was she there at a register and inside the grooming dept., she also told me that Petco helps her by providing food, and giving her dog toys to sell to make money for her shelter. I called Petco tonight to see if they still supported her and was told "no comment". I said I only wanted to know because if they did I planned to discontinue shopping their store and would support the other pet store in town. Again I was told "no comment", but could call company headquarters if I wanted. I was hoping for an answer. No one who abuses animals needs to be working in a pet shop or anywhere else where animals are concerned.
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