Humane Society looking for owners of dogs from alleged puppy mill

Sunday, January 6th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DUNCAN, Okla. (AP) _ The Stephens County Humane Society fears some dogs raised at an alleged puppy mill may have been sold before the facility was shut down last week.

Humane Society Director Karen Peck-Slay said her group wants to contact anyone who may have bought a dog from the puppy mill because the animal likely has health problems.

Authorities confiscated 308 Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, miniature Pinschers, Yorkshire terriers and poodles at a residence seven miles east of Duncan. Investigators found the dogs living in cages in two outbuildings that reeked of urine and feces, officials said.

J.V. Holt, 77, and his son, Jack, 57, were charged with cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit a felony. They face a Feb. 22 preliminary hearing.

Peck-Slay said more than 80 dogs have been euthanized because they were in poor health. She said more dogs are expected to be put to sleep.

Most of them suffered from severe heart problems and the Humane Society fears dogs with similar problems raised by the Holts may have been sold all across Oklahoma and Texas.

``We have received some tips from people who say the (Holt) family may have sold dogs in the Tulsa-Claremore area,'' Peck-Slay said. ``We're also told the family has connections down in Texas. So if anyone has purchased a dog from a man named Holt, we're asking them to contact us immediately.

``Chances are these dogs might have a number of serious health problems, and their owners need to know.''

John Rector, a Stephens County veterinarian who has donated his services, said the dog's health problems stem from the poor conditions the were kept in, as well as inbreeding.

``A lot of the dogs we have examined have had severe heart complications,'' Rector said. ``They may also have eye problems, skin problems, and leg and joint problems.''

Fleas also have been a nemesis to the dogs. Each of the surviving dogs has been ``dipped'' to be rid of that problem.

``A lot of these dogs have eye problems, apparently from the concentration of ammonia and fecal matter,'' Rector said. ``A lot of the dogs had hair matted over their eyes that caused abrasions. There are just a whole lot of problems.''

Whether the Holts sold the dogs remains in question, but it won't change the charges against them, said Assistant District Attorney Jerry Herberger.

``It might change their defense if that is found to be true,'' Herberger said. ``But it won't change the charges in the case. Whether they were selling these dogs is irrelevant to the law.

``But I must say, what would you have 308 dogs sitting around for?''

Peck-Slay said her office has received hundreds of calls of people wanting to adopt the dogs. But that could be several months away because the dogs will be kept as evidence until the trial is over.


Anyone with information regarding the case can call the Stephens County Humane Society at (580) 252-7387 or (580) 252-PETS.