SPCA to keep over 200 animals seized from Bonham residence

By: Stephanie Brletic Email
By: Stephanie Brletic Email

BONHAM, Tex. -- A Fannin County couple was in a municipal courtroom Tuesday after 209 cats and three dogs were seized from their home on Friday (story). The future of those animals has now been decided.

The Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas will keep all the animals seized from David and Chenoa Wheeler's home on Friday. Those are the terms of an agreement reached with the state on Tuesday.

In exchange for voluntarily giving up the cats and dogs, the couple will not have to pay any fees or fines.

"It's very difficult. It's made things very difficult between my wife and I. It's very difficult," the property’s owner, David Wheeler, says.

Wheeler says this agreement is very hard to deal with. He says he and his wife love animals and were just trying to rescue abused and abandoned cats.

"The animals that we took in that were strays were originally in a town that had no animal control, where people were abusing them. And I don't mean just living in overcrowded conditions. I mean they were taking them and using them for target practice," Wheeler says.

Wheeler says he doesn't think the agreement is fair but says he thinks a hearing would not have been fair either.

Judge John Skotnik was set to preside over the case had it gone to court. Skotnik used to be Wheeler's neighbor. Wheeler says that would have been a conflict of interest.

"The city of Bonham was more interested in a speedy resolution than a fair resolution. I do have some doubts about the judges ability to be impartial, we had a property dispute with them when we moved in," says Wheeler.

Officials say the case was treated fairly, and that the police initiated the seizure-- not the judge.

"Until we contacted him about doing the seizure warrant, he didn't know we were dealing with them at all," Bonham Police Chief Mike Bankston says.

"They were very anxious to try to work and solve their problem, and we were very anxious to allow them to try to solve the problem, but either they didn't work hard enough, or they just got overwhelmed, and it just came to a point where we had to take action," Chief Bankston said.

Police say they have been in contact with the couple since July of 2006.

Other terms of the agreement state that the wheelers are not allowed to own a pet for at least one year. After that year expires, the property must be inspected by authorities before they adopt any animals.

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  • by silas Location: pottsboro on Feb 7, 2008 at 07:04 AM
    What does one do when stray animals appear on yiur property hungry and homeless? I,too am feeding strays,dogs and cats that have come to depend on us for their suvival. We have 5 very nice cats under one year old,three female callico,and two black males,well fed,and heathy.they need a good home.anyone iterested,can post your comment and a way to contact. sincerely , silas
  • by Pet Owner Location: Ardmore on Feb 6, 2008 at 02:15 PM
    Animal hoarding is a disease. I'm sure they felt that they were doing the right thing but they let it get outside of their control. Good intentions and the inability to say "no more". Get some help. Clean up your yard, your house and yourself. Donate your time at a local shelter than can use your help. Don't allow it to consume your lives. Society is not out to get you, what you were doing was wrong and an injustice to the very animals you thought you were helping. Best of luck to you both.
  • by animal lover Location: Sherman on Feb 6, 2008 at 02:08 PM
    I believe the couple had good intentions...These's people love animal's..was only trying to help them.. it just got out of control
  • by Me Location: Animal Lover Too on Feb 6, 2008 at 11:22 AM
    It's a good thing that the property must be inspected. I doubt that they will be able to completey clean it up without painting, etc.......... Best of luck to you both.
  • by Mork Location: Ork on Feb 6, 2008 at 10:47 AM
    Dude looks like Ted Nugent - Cat Scratch Fever.
  • by Steve Location: Gainesville on Feb 6, 2008 at 08:08 AM
    How in the world could someone live with 2000 cats running around your House?? Thats Disgusting!!
  • by Me Location: Bonham on Feb 6, 2008 at 04:54 AM
    Good, good, good!
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