Four dogs and a donkey seized in rural Ennis last week were awarded to the SPCA of Texas during a hearing Friday at the Ellis County Courthouse.

With Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr. presiding, an agreement was reached between the animals’ owner and the SPCA to surrender the animals in lieu of about $2,400 in fees.

The dogs and donkey have been in the care of the SPCA since their seizure Feb. 18 from a property in the 3200 block of Farm-to-Market 85.

According to information released by authorities, the four dogs were confined in a trailer home that was filled two to three inches in feces, urine and debris

The matter came to light after the SPCA received an anonymous tip. After visiting the property, attempts were made to reach the owner without success, with the SPCA subsequently contacting the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities were unable to determine if anyone lived in the residence; however, neighbors told SPCA investigators they would see someone visit the location every few days.

The SPCA investigators found the dogs to be in fair condition but suffering from hair loss, eye discharge, inflamed skin and long nails, according to the reports, which indicate the dogs did not appear to have access to food or water.

The donkey was in a small pasture without access to food or shelter and while there was access to water, there was very little grass in the pasture, according to the reports, which note that the animal was slightly underweight.

In coordination with the sheriff’s office, a seizure warrant was obtained, with the animals taken into custody. The four dogs have been in care at the SPCA’s McKinney facility, with the donkey at an off-site location in Kaufman.

According to the order signed by Miller, the SPCA will release one of the dogs to its breeder if claimed within 10 days. The remaining animals will be evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, visit the SPCA at http://www.spca.org.