Odors of death result in an ECSO and SPCA raid on dog training facility

Photo courtesy Ellis County Sheriff's Office.
Photo of dogs caged without water or food inside the Maximum K-9 facility in Waxahachie.

WAXAHACHIE — The Ellis County Sheriff's Office (ECSO) and SPCA of Texas raided the Maximum K-9 training facility in Waxahachie on Thursday, July 23 resulting in one arrest, seizure of 72 animals and collection of 15 to 20 dead animals.

The raid followed a welfare check at the location on Wednesday where Sheriff's Deputies were denied access.

"Upon arrival, the Deputies smelled a strong odor emanating from the house but were denied access by a 69-year-old woman at the scene," a press release from the ECSO stated.

A nearby resident photographed Sheriff's Deputies and media stationed down the street from Maximum K-9 in Waxahachie, TX.Photo by Leo Marler.

A nearby resident photographed Sheriff's Deputies and media stationed down the street from Maximum K-9 in Waxahachie, TX.

"The Deputies obtained a search warrant and returned this morning (July 23, 2015) along with the SPCA of Texas to execute the search warrant."

The welfare check was initiated by a concerned citizen whom was at the house over the weekend where he said dogs were looking at him like they were wondering if they were going to live another day.

"I noticed the horrendous smell of death even pulling up from out of the roadway. Being dark and being not allowed into the house at that time, I couldn't exactly see what was going on. I noticed it was a dog training facility," an anonymous source told Ellis County Citizen in an exclusive interview.

"The smell outside was certainly just death. There was no mistaking it, it was death."

The witness returned the following day to see dead dogs in and around the house.

The anonymous tipster attempted to take photographs inside the home without alerting the resident to his actions.Submitted photo.

The anonymous tipster attempted to take photographs inside the home without alerting the resident to his actions.

"I went back out there and noticed there were dead dogs in and around the house and there were several dogs penned up inside in cages with no food or water. A couple of them were running around scared looking emaciated," the witness said.

"Seeing what I saw then, I took a couple of pictures inside the house and as soon as I left there I made a decision in my mind I couldn't just let that go. I called the County Sheriff and left an anonymous report of what I found and asked them to do a welfare check."

According to the ECSO press release, "Sixty-eight dogs, three cats and one parrot were seized and transported by the SPCA of Texas to one of its facilities. From 15-20 deceased animals were located on site."

"The 69-year-old woman was taken into custody at the scene. Her name is not being released pending arraignment on a class A misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals."

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office and SPCA raided Maximum K-9, owned by Gayle Justice, on Thursday, July 23, 2015 after an anonymous tip led Deputies to numerous dead animals.Photo source: Maximum K-9 website.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office and SPCA raided Maximum K-9, owned by Gayle Justice, on Thursday, July 23, 2015 after an anonymous tip led Deputies to numerous dead animals.

According to the company's Facebook page, the facility provides dog obedience training and boarding services. The company's website states Gayle Justice owns the business.

Gayle Justice was booked into the Wayne McCollum Detention Center in Waxahachie at 2:37 p.m.  on a single charge of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals. Her bond was set at $1,500 and she will be released on a Personal Recognizance Bond.

"Maximum K-9 provides professional dog training services for all of North Central Texas. Gayle Justice is the owner and Training Director, and has over 35 years of training experience," the website states.

"Experience and proven method of training that is guaranteed for the life of your dog."

Dogs are penned in small cages without water or food in the Maximum K-9 facility in Waxahachie, TX.Photo courtesy Ellis County Sheriff's Office.

Dogs are penned in small cages without water or food in the Maximum K-9 facility in Waxahachie, TX.

During a press briefing, Ellis County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Lt. James Saulter said, "There are also some additional issues where we have got adult protective services that are meeting us out here."

The anonymous witness to the alleged animal cruelty said he met Justice's husband during his first visit over the weekend but that the husband was not present during the second visit. The source said Justice stated her husband was in the hospital for evaluation.

The witness is asking that any residents who smell or see something out of the ordinary or who feel like something is not right to contact law enforcement in future situations. He and other residents believe that law enforcement may have been able to react quicker should someone have reported this sooner.

If you believe your pet may have been at the Maximum K-9 facility, the SPCA is encouraging you to call 214-461-1850 or send an email to investigations@spca.org.