Former Spindletop Dog Refuge owner Leah Purcell has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Filed July 15, the charges stem from the shuttered dog refuge where, in 2012, local authorities and Humane Society of the United States personnel seized nearly 300 dogs who they say were ... More >>
Oak Forest has a stray animal problem, and neighborhood residents are rallying to do something about it. It's not an original problem; the entire city of Houston shares it. Our streets are home to about one million stray animals, and BARC has neither the money nor the manpower to handle these sta ... More >>
Former Spindletop Dog Refuge owner Leah Purcell was arrested July 5 in connection with an illegal dumping charge. The Texas Department of Public Safety was the arresting agency, but we have no further information regarding the arrest. We're waiting to hear from the Montgomery County District Attotn ... More >>
Reporter Brad Woodard, an award-winning former reporter for KHOU, was found dead Wednesday. We have no word yet on the cause of death. He would have turned 52 at the end of the month. Woodard was admired and respected by his peers, and racked up 26 Emmys during his time at KHOU and outlets in Minne ... More >>
If Montgomery County authorities wish to file animal cruelty charges against Spindletop dog refuge owner Leah Purcell, they only have three weeks left: July 17 marks the expiration of the two year statute of limitations. That will be the anniversary of the day sheriff's deputies and personnel from ... More >>
It was the slap seen 'round the world: a capuchin monkey bopped Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan in the face in April, and almost everyone thought it was super-cute. Of course, the party-poopers at PETA didn't think it was cute, especially given the track record of Brian Staples, the guy who r ... More >>
The Texas Humane Legislative Network pushes for animal-friendly laws, and encourages responsible ownership, a la spaying and neutering your pet. But it appears that the Network itself is neutered when it comes to supporting its dedicated volunteers. We're talking about an alleged incident where the ... More >>
A fundraising calendar for the SPCA of East Texas is raising some eyebrows for its photos of regional officials and business owners posing in the buff. KLTV reports that a board member of Tyler's Meals on Wheels resigned after the group's president posed in the calendar. The board member explained ... More >>
The promoters of an upcoming bull run outside Baytown don't have the proper permit to hold their event next month, according to an animal welfare group that has sent letters to Chambers County officials. The Animal Legal Defense Fund says The Great Bull Run, LLC, does not have a Texas mass gatherin ... More >>
You Have 51 animals in your home, claim to run a no-kill shelter and you write notes to your dead veterinarian? Sounds fine.
This week's story, "The Ag Gag War," goes behind the scenes of the guerilla fight between animal rights groups and Big Agriculture. For years organizations like the Humane Society and Mercy for Animals have being going undercover at America's largest farms, using hidden cameras to show exactly how ... More >>
In December 2012, two Houstonians became the first defendants charged under the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which criminalizes the production and distribution of images of animal cruelty. Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Wayne Justice were originally charged in Harris County Distric ... More >>
Authorities in Montgomery County are investigating if former Spindletop Dog Refuge owner Leah Purcell is boarding dogs again, in violation of a court order. Officials and Humane Society personnel raided her Willis property last year and seized nearly 300 dogs who had been kept in filthy conditions. ... More >>
The husband and wife team behind local pet store chain Natural Pawz are set to donate 100,000 pounds of pet food to the Houston Humane Society today at their new Almeda Road location. Biff Picone and his wife Nadine Jolie-Coeur collected the lion's share of the food from vendors they work with, in ... More >>
People dropping dogs off at the refuge trusted they were sending them to the best place possible. Not exactly.
For at least twenty years, Spindletop Dog Refuge was known as one of the few places in the country where rescued pit bulls had a second chance for a happy life. But somewhere along the way, Spindletop's owner, Leah Purcell, lost control and the refuge appears to have turned into a place where dogs w ... More >>
We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning or afternoon from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula i ... More >>
At high noon today, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protesters will rally outside Reliant Stadium to speak out against what it says is bad treatment of elephants by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. "Houston residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how ... More >>
UTMB must hand over more than 1,000 pages, AG says.Attorney General Greg Abbott has ruled that the UT Medical Branch in Galveston must turn over documents sought by PETA regarding experiments done on animals. A PETA whistleblower alleged in January that animals were used in painful and dead ... More >>
We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>
UTMB gets hit by PETA complaints about experimentsPETA, fresh off claiming a victory over NASA about monkey experiments, has a new target in its sights: The University of Texas medical branch in Galveston. PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging "abuse and ... More >>
When NASA employee April Evans questioned animal experiments, her career fell apart.
Morrissey Loves Animals So Much It Makes Him Racist: Morrissey has been one of the biggest ambiguously snarky pussies in all of rock music for some years now, popular among 15-year-old bisexuals of all races and creeds. Sometimes, however, the former Smiths frontman likes to make a straightf ... More >>
Edward PerezIn the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Houston Humane Society Shelter Director Edward Perez, former HHS employees have told Hair Balls they were driven to quit because of Perez's verbally assaultive behavior, condoned by Executive Director Sherry Ferguson and at least one ... More >>
All the BARC brouhaha today brought us an interesting bit of e-mail correspondence, forwarded to us from a chain that began with a Houston Chronicle reporter.Rebecca Maitland, a freelancer who writes occasionally for the Chron's Fort Bend zoned edition, was doing a story on animal shelters in tha ... More >>
Photo by J.C. ReidI love foie gras. Is that bad? Foie gras is the fattened liver of a goose or duck. The fattening is brought about through the technique of gavage, or force-feeding the animal, in this case with corn. The resulting food product is a true delicacy which has a rich, meaty/salty flavo ... More >>
Since its inception, Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care has been defined by mismanagement. Relegated to an unsightly corner of Houston's Fifth Ward, the facility, which operates with a staggeringly high 80-percent euthanasia rate, has been a historically low priority for Houston's leader ... More >>
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested at the Houston Zoo Saturday, demanding that the zoo stop breeding elephants after the death of two-year-old Mac from the elephant herpesvirus.Hair Balls caught up with PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt at the protest. "PETA is appalled that yet anoth ... More >>
When the feds and local law-enforcement agencies busted a big dog-fighting ring a while back, there was much talk of the more than 100 dogs that had been "rescued." If by "rescued" you meant "Sent to Doggie Death Row," then they were indeed rescued. A commenter to our item on the arrests said the ... More >>
Have you ever wanted to win an award from the good folks at PETA? Well, here’s a way to do it without actually having to deal with filthy stinking animals: agree to donate your brain to science when you shuffle off this mortal coil. PETA has awarded its Compassionate Action Award to two Houstonia ... More >>
All kinds of cuties are showing up
The Houston SPCA, in the form of Meera Nandlal, who’s in charge of public relations, got back to us finally today and made it clear there has absolutely been no change in policy by the SPCA about adopting out pit bulls. The Houston SPCA, as we've noted, makes a big point of saying they do not ado ... More >>
Kyle Held came from St. Louis to help. Kyle Held and Catherine Raymond must have driven Galveston’s west end back and forth 100 times this past week. They’re from the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis; just two of the dozens of animal rescue personnel who flocked to the island from Michi ... More >>
OK, let’s face it, pit bulls have a certain reputation and it’s not a good one. Yes, they’re loyal, strong, intelligent, but you have to balance that with the possibility that if your 2-year-old smart-talks them, they may rip his throat open when you step out of the room. For years, local an ... More >>
A puppy run over by a lawn mower. A stallion shot in the neck. A pit bull puppy with 13 broken bones after being beaten by its owner. Houston has plenty of animal cruelty stories, many of them documented on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Cops: Houston program. The show paints a depressing picture ... More >>
The dogs are still for sale. But to whom? Yet another update to this seemingly unending story of the 320 pit bulls in Liberty County. Courtney Frank of the Houston Humane Society says her offices have been fielding angry calls and e-mails about the fate of the pit bulls after the judge's recent ... More >>
Dixie Wilson/ARTEX Some of the horses endured much more than a bumpy ride and exhaust. In April, Press staffer Josh Harkinson told a sad tale of horse slaughterhouses and horse abuse. On the coattails of that story, we have a depressing follow-up. On Thursday, Bryan Morgan was been charged wit ... More >>
"Worried? Why? They said we all have a good shot." The Chron reports today that 300 pit bulls have been seized from a Liberty County residence. Some of the dawgs — suspected to be part of a large dogfighting ring — were left in outdoor kennels. Thomas Weigner, the owner of the property ... More >>
The HSPCA has tightened controls on its lethal "blue juice." But it's too late to matter for Anthony Helzer.
Toyya Braskey lives with 100 cats. They are her life. Now the city says they have to go.
Foster programs try to save departing soldiers' critters from becoming casualties
Patricia E. Mercer
Feral hogs are on the increase. And so are those who hunt them.
April 22-28, 1999