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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