An officer’s affidavit and court documents indicate Waxahachie police recovered 45 dogs, including one deceased, and 34 cats, including three deceased, during the execution of a seizure warrant July 30 in the 1200 block of Ovilla Road.
A 39-year-old female, Michelle Lorraine Lehman, was arrested July 29 on a class A misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a nonlivestock animal. She was booked into Wayne McCollum Detention Center and released July 31 on a $1,500 bond.
Authorities have said the animals were of all breeds, but primarily mixed, with the dogs’ ages ranging from about 3 months to 8 years and the cats’ ages ranging from about 2 months to 5 years.
According to the affidavit, an officer was initially dispatched at 5:56 p.m. July 29 in reference to cruelty to animals, with a complainant advising him he had observed a female beating a small dog with a stick.
The officer states in his affidavit he went to the location indicated by the complainant and made contact with Lehman, who told him she had a nonprofit animal shelter. Lehman denied beating any of the animals, according to the affidavit, which indicates the officer contacted animal control to respond to the scene.
The animal control officer advised the officer the facility was substandard and didn’t meet the requirements for a shelter, with the affidavit indicating conditions included a dog tethered with a chain around its neck, pizza scraps and trash thrown on the ground for food and a pen with no food or water.
“Most of the animals had some sort of medical condition that had not been treated,” the affidavit states, saying Lehman’s records indicated she had 48 dogs and 35 cats on the site.
The animals will remain in the city of Waxahachie’s protective custody until a court hearing, which has been scheduled for Aug. 9 in Justice of the Peace Court Pct. 2.
Needs at the animal control facility
The seizure has placed the city’s animal control facility at maximum capacity, with adoptive homes needed as soon as possible for dogs and cats previously taken in and cleared for adoption (none relate to this seizure). Those adoptions would ensure adequate space to house the seized animals pending the court’s decision as to their disposition.
Donations are welcomed of additional dog collars; dog treats such as biscuits, rawhides and pig’s ears; and monetary contributions. Any donations can be dropped off at either the animal control facility or City Hall. Make checks payable to City of Waxahachie/Animal Control Department.
The animal control facility is located at 191 Lions Park Road, with hours of operation from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday. The shelter can be reached at 972-937-1802 or 972-937-7330, ext. 151.
Contact JoAnn at email@example.com or 469-517-1452.