Houston SPCA Rescues 1,000 Animals from Backyard Breeder


Acting on an anonymous tip from a concerned citizen, the Houston SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigation Team rescued and removed 1,079 animals from a private home on July 15.


The animals included dozens of dogs, rabbits, hamsters and a large variety of exotic birds.  All of the animals were living in dirty, cramped cages without proper food and water.  The birds appeared to be the victims of the most severe neglect. 


The Houston SPCA blog reported that when their team arrived at the home along with officials from the Harris County Constable’s office, they found hundreds of macaws, cockatiels and parakeets living in deplorable conditions.  Birds were kept in overcrowded cages that were scattered around the property. Many of the exotic birds were kept in small storage units and each of the hundreds of cages was equipped with breeding boxes.


The SPCA reported that some of the birds were dead and some were dying.  One dead bird was found hanging from a trap where it was being used as “bait.” 


All of the cages were covered with built-up waste, old food and cobwebs.


According to the SPCA, the man and woman that live in the house have a Breeder’s license and were running a breeding business from their home.


SPCA spokesperson Meera Nandial said, “From what we understand, (the owners) were selling them to pet stores.”  There is also speculation the couple was selling the animals to flea markets and individual buyers.


“The animals were being held in cages crammed inside storage sheds on the property.  Many did not have food or water.  Those (cages) that do have water – it’s not fresh.  There doesn’t appear to be a lot of new food in the cages,” Nandial continued.


The team also found a shed full of cardboard boxes used for transporting birds.  The boxes were stamped with the words, “Live Birds Rush.”  Apparently the breeders were shipping or mailing birds directly from their home.


The animals were rescued and relocated to the Houston SPCA facility where they will each undergo a veterinary examination.


A court date will be set within 10 days where a judge will determine who will take custody of the animals. 


The Future Of Backyard Breeders 

Unfortunately stories like this are in the news too often.   But recent legislation and proposed laws in several parts of the country are bringing hope to the plight of animals kept by backyard breeders and large commercial breeders. 


San Francisco and West Hollywood are trying to eliminate the problem by placing restrictions on pet shops.  Backyard breeders and puppy mills will cease to exist if there is no one to buy their animals.


The theory behind these types of laws is twofold:  First it will stop impulse buyers who fall in love with a cute pet, but soon tire of them once they get home and second it will lead people to adopt pets from animal shelters and rescue groups.  Care2 writer Jake Richardson addresses the problem of impulse buying and the proposed San Francisco law in his story titled, “Pet Sales Ban in San Francisco Tabled.”


West Hollywood blocked backyard breeders when they voted on an ordinance earlier this year that only permits pet shops to “re-home” rescued or shelter animals.  


Nationwide more than 500 independent pet shops have voluntarily signed the HSUS pledge to stop selling puppies at their stores.  And currently The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act is gathering support to close up a loophole that allows breeders like the couple in Houston from continuing to profit from the suffering of animals. 


The Act will add regulations to backyard breeders and breeders that sell directly to the public or pet shops.  A story called, “Protect Puppies From Unlicensed Puppy Mills,” discusses this loophole.


Here are two petitions for your signature that address backyard breeders:

Bring All Commercial Dog Breeders Under Federal Oversight!

Petition to Ban the Auction of Exotic Birds




Creative Commons - Lagohsep Animal Crates


Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Backyard breeders are a disease.

Nikki S: Instead of breeding rats, self-proclaimed animal lover, do some research about pro-animals organizations.

Cindy Marabito
Cindy Marabito5 years ago

How would we be able to find out information on this pit bull confiscated at the Houston SPCA? Rescue hung up on when called to inquire during the 72 hour stray period.


Thomas K.
Thomas K6 years ago

The entire Houston SPCA belongs in jail.

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

What an awful story. Thats to the ASPCA for saving the ones they could.

RosemaryR NO Forwards Pls

Sharon this information is critical to get out to the public at large given that most people have no idea what is really going on.
Animal abuse, cruelty and neglect is shameful and i'm sorry these animals have suffered but so thankful they have been seized and hopefully will be given a new chance at life with people who will care and love them.
Petitions signed and posted to Twitter with my appreciation.

Thomas K.
Thomas K6 years ago

Money over animal welfare will be dealt a severe blow when the Houston SPCA is disbanded and its perpetrators jailed.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

Money over animal welfare again,when will it stop?

Thomas K.
Thomas K6 years ago

How did the HSPCA corrupt the judiciary so thoroughly, anyway? The HSPCA very well should have been on trial. I don't believe a word that comes from them and they kill animals by neglect and by incompetence.

Ioney W.
Ioney W6 years ago

Sad situation.If a person wants to breed or take in animals, they should do everything possible to take care of them.In any situation,if a person can't take care of them, they can show more love by finding them a good home.

Nikki Stonerr
Nikki Stonerr6 years ago

Not all breeders are bad, i love rats and used to buy from pet stores, the rats never lived over 1 1/2 years old and have very poor health and most had poor temperment and were biters as well. Then i started buying and helping out a breeder and we breed for health and temperment and now i get rats that live 3 years. What there needs to be is animal education most people want a pet go to the store a randomly buy one and then realize it is to high maintenance for them and get bored with it, now if there was somewhere people could go to actually interact with animals and find out about them before buying one that would be helpful. I love animals and have tried to apply at Petsmart and Petco in th epast and as part of their application it says "are you willing to lie to the customer to make the sale? I answer no and obviously don't get hired. If someone wants a low maintenance pet i am not going to sell them a rabbit or a guinea pig which are high mainentance animals that's just stupid. The point is to find animals forever homes not just make a sale for the corporation. Did you know that birds are not even legislated by any laws under the USDA? Neither are rats or mice. so people can treat rats, mice and birds as badly as they want and there are no guidelines to enforce that they are properly cared for. I would love to acquire rescue animals but refuse to support agencies like the Humane society that are businesses -charging people to drop off unwanted animals is a joke of course