Weatherford Democrat

August 23, 2013

Cruelty charges dropped

County prosecutors dismiss charges against woman in case involving 58 dogs seized


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE



Prosecutors have dropped all animal cruelty charges against a Parker County woman who had 58 dogs seized from her home last year due to the animals’ living conditions and health.

The Parker County Attorney’s Office recently dropped two class A misdemeanors charges of animal cruelty stemming from the seizure in May 2012 in a plea deal that resulted in Teresa Lynn Weldon pleading guilty to an unrelated theft in an amount more than $500 and less than $1,500. Two additional theft charges from last summer were dropped as a part of the deal, as well.

Receiving a sentence of a week in jail and a $100 fine, the 49-year-old Weldon spent three days in the Parker County Jail after her sentencing for the theft, according to jail records.

Prior to the seizure last year, Weldon, who was associated with non-profit Four Paws and Hooves Animal Rescue and was a former animal control officer with the city of Everman, was reportedly obtaining large numbers of dogs from North Texas animal shelters, including Fort Worth and Arlington.

Weeks before the seizure, the Weatherford-Parker County Animal Shelter denied a request to transfer animals to her rescue because of several red flags, officials said.

The dogs were removed from her home in the 900 block of Lynch Bend Road on May 9, 2012, after animal control officers responded to a tip about excessive animals at the residence.

Of the 58 dogs seized, 31 were held in crates, many stacked on top of each other, in the house, according to the sheriff’s office. Others were roaming freely in the home.

The dogs in the house did not appear to have been fed or watered that day and some were living in their own urine and feces, according to animal control officers.

Several outdoor pens with puppies contained animal feces, urine and vomit, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The conditions were so poor that it created a serious health hazard for the occupants as well,” Investigator John Qualls said at the time. “There was an overwhelming foul odor of dog feces, which was detectable from outside the residence. It was extremely unhealthy for both humans and animals.”

A puppy and an adult pit bull mix breed dog were euthanized because of severe neglect and health conditions, according to the sheriff’s office.

Family members said Weldon operated an animal shelter out of her home and sold dogs once a week at Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth, but said there were more dogs at the residence than normal because of foster families that had backed out, according to court documents.

One family member was convicted in the animal neglect case. Harry Weldon pleaded guilty last year to animal cruelty in exchange for two years probation.

Animal cruelty charges against the couple’s son, Joseph Weldon, were dropped due to insufficient evidence, according to court filings. His brother, Christopher Weldon, died in November and that case was dropped, as well.

All charges of child endangerment involving a 2-year-old boy found in a crib at the residence were dropped against the family as well, according to the Parker County District Attorney’s Office.