UPDATED: Leah Purcell Charged in Spindletop Dog Refuge Case

Categories: Courts

spindletopdog.jpg
Charges finally filed.
Update: First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant tells us that one felony count of animal cruelty has been filed in addition to the four misdemeanor charges. A felony count is punishable by a maximum of two years in state jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

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 kept in filthy, appalling conditions. Thirty-eight other dogs allegedly suffocated to death in a building on a property a few months before the raid.

The charges were filed two days before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Purcell, 48, was indicted in April on a felony charge of illegal commercial dumping. She was arrested July 5 after the driver of a car she was riding in was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. She was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and bonded out the following day.

HSUS Texas Division Director Katie Jarl told us earlier this week that "our team worked tirelessly for months to assist local law enforcement with the rescue, care, and placement of nearly 300 dogs living in squalor at Spindletop in 2012, and we stand ready to assist the District Attorney's office on the prosecution of this case." [See below for an updated statement].

The charges each carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine. We hope to have more details soon.

In a new statement regarding the charges, Jarl says: "The atrocious conditions at Spindletop still haunt me to this day. Our team spent months on the ground to assist local law enforcement with the rescue, care, and placement of nearly 300 dogs, and with documenting the evidence needed to prosecute this case. We are grateful that the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office has moved forward with the charges, and we hope Purcell is charged to the fullest extent allowed by law."

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16 comments
garnell58
garnell58

Thanks for the update Craig. Keep us posted on court date, etc. I PRAY she gets the maximum penalty on ALL charges.


sgodym
sgodym

Craig, Thank you for keeping everyone updated on this story!  Sadly, no matter what the punishment, it well never bring back the dogs that were lost at Spindletop!!

doggirl1
doggirl1

Thank you Craig for always covering Leah Purcell and Zandra Anderson TEXAS DOG LAWYER crimes against hundreds if not thousands of dogs.

Petra Shaw Cumbie
Petra Shaw Cumbie

And eat her own waste..This aint justice for what she has done..not by far

Petra Shaw Cumbie
Petra Shaw Cumbie

Petra has some major issues..which she did not have when i rescued her when she was a puppy..my name is joann shaw cumbie..this makes me sick leah gets a slap but these dogs pay the ultimate price for her abuse..refuge hell..she needs to sleep and eat her

Petra Shaw Cumbie
Petra Shaw Cumbie

Only 4 counts?!?! this is a fb page for one of her victims..leah purcell abused neglected and made these dogs live in their own waste and nothing but skin and bones and some of these dogs have some trauma because of her..i am petras 2 time rescue and petra

rmj8757
rmj8757

Maybe the HSUS should have helped this lady with some of the $20,000,000.00 it stashed off shore. The HSUS liked to complain about how other people treat animals, but it does very little to help animals. It does this kind of propaganda to get people to donate, then it spends its money on pension plans and salaries. This lady probably had her heart in the right place, but she did not understand how much it cost to take care of animals. Now the hypocrites from the HSUS are calling for her blood. They ought to be ashamed.

amanda.evrard
amanda.evrard

I hope there is detailed reporting on this trial for those of us across the country who can't be there to see it in person. I want to see the evidence and hear Purcell's testimony on this so badly!

ebabycat00
ebabycat00

Craig, thank you for continually reporting on the story!!!  On behalf of Sophocles, and many others who are unaccounted for, I am truly grateful.


kaylor2008
kaylor2008

@rmj8757  ashamed is hardly adequate for the scam they play on the goodhearted American public.


muttluver024
muttluver024

@rmj8757  Why the lies about HSUS? FACT-80% of every $ donated goes to animal welfare programs. FACT--Taking their Wildlife centers, first responders and law enforcement aid, The HSUS is the single largest hands on animal welfare organization. Maybe you should review their tax records EASILY available through their web page or The IRS.


rmj8757
rmj8757

@muttluver024 @rmj8757 


  • The HSUS is an urban concentrated vegan obsessed fanatics that wants to change our eating habits and how our food is produced. It raises over 150 million dollar by pretending to take care of dogs and cats while it spends less then 1 cent on the dollar to feed and shelter cats and dogs. The HSUS is being investigated for fraud for the ways it raises money and how it is spent. ( http://protecttheharvest.com/oklahoma-attorney-general-scott-pruitt-wants-hsus-answer-deceptive-practices/ ) It complains about AG Gag bills but it was convicted of racketeering in Florida for paying someone to lie about animal abuse. The HSUS IS AGAINST RODEO AND HUNTING. IT IS FOR A VEGETERIAN LIFE STYLE AND AGAINST EATING MEAT. ( This was posted on a report about a statue of Gandhi that the HSUS helped pay for. “ God bless Sadhu Vaswani and the HSUS for taking this opportunity to promote Mahatma Gandhi's vegetarian philosophy!”) The HSUS says it spends 79% of its money on “animal welfare programs”, but it does not say what they are. (You probably can assume some of the money went to make a statue to Gandhi) The HSUS has been accused of paying employees to abuse animals and videoing the abuse as proof that meat production should be stopped. The HSUS wants to stop seal hunting, contending someone should pay the hunters to stop, but it will not use any of the 20 million dollars it stashes off shore to pay the hunters. The HSUS is bad for America so don't applaud its lackeys. If you want to support something think about giving to the child fund, St. Jude, the Wounded Warriors, or you local food bank. If you want to help animals, give money to you local animal shelter. Giving money to the HSUS is throwing money away on a bloated bureaucracy that waste it on salaries and litigation. It claims to do good but if you really look at what it does, it only piggybacks on the work of local organizations.

ownedbydogs
ownedbydogs

@rmj8757 Protect the Harvest - the link you cited - is just another anti-animal hack front group in bed w/industrialized agriculture.  It is registered to Steve Grubbs who Rand Paul just hired to run his ultraconservative Rand PAC - ugh.  Why are you so down on HSUS - did they reject your job application? Advocating for animals is hard work & I think HSUS does an awesome job. I love donating to them AND my local shelter. 

dawninwonderland
dawninwonderland

@rmj8757 

You have just CONVINCED me to donate to the HSUS. Sounds like they are doing a great job! I too am against Rodeo's and hunting. While we're at it, what's wrong with eating a healthy diet of vegetables and grains? Your arteries (and animals) will thank you.

amanda.evrard
amanda.evrard

@dawninwonderland @rmj8757 I believe the issue is not whether they do any good for animals, but how they manipulate people into supporting them by intentionally implying donations will benefit cats and dogs in their community.  The same can be said of Peta and the ASPCA.  The vast majority of donations received do not have anything to do with companion animals.  I agree they do a lot of amazing things for animals, but I do not support them because they deceive people and take funds away from local animal rescue efforts.  They have no idea what transparency is, which is shameful.

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