- Texas, USA -
On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Smith County authorities arrested 64-years-old KYM JYLL MCREE (pictured), founder and director of the nonprofit organization K9′s & Heroes in East Texas.
To understand what led authorities to arrest MCREE, we need to go back to August 2022, when a welfare check revealed that she had “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” failed to provide “food, water, care and shelter” for fifteen dogs.
KETK reports that Precinct 4 Constable Josh Joplin said his office was contacted by Smith County Animal Control for a welfare check they were doing for animals on MCREE’s property in Arp.
According to KLTV, investigators said that the Smith County Sheriff’s Office received photos showing many large dogs and a Macaw parrot in cages or kennels outside of MCREE’s property. In the photos, some of the kennels appeared to be dirty and deprived of food, water, or adequate shade.
Investigators said that other pictures also showed a dog who had several scars on his/her face, while he/she did not have any before being placed into MCREE’s care.
One of MCREE’s clients who put their dog into her care for training told investigators that when they were told to come pick up their dog because MCREE was becoming ill, the dog was found to have lost weight, had become extremely anxious, and had scarring on his/her elbows and knees. The VOICELESS VICTIM later underwent a medical examination which revealed that he/she had hookworms and a bacterial infection, likely caused by the furbaby being exposed to standing water and feces.
Another of MCREE’s clients also told investigators that their dog had also been diagnosed with hookworms and a bacterial infection.
When on August 15, 2022, a search warrant was executed at MCREE’s residence, investigators found the animals in deplorable living conditions similar to those shown in the pictures.
From the home, officials removed eighteen dogs, a Macaw parrot, and a Prairie Dog.
During the seizure, an animal control officer was bitten by one of the dogs and Smith County Animal Control and Shelter Supervisor Amber Greene said that that dog was euthanized.
Detective Tim McDonald with the Smith County Criminal Investigation Division said he was unable to search the entirety of the house due to a fear of bodily harm from the toxicity of large amounts of urine and fecal matter.
MCREE formerly worked in partnership with CampV helping train service dogs for veterans.
Travis Gladhill, Executive Director of CampV said: “Kym would take these dogs from the veterans upwards of 11 months, 12 months, over a year and no training was getting done. As a matter of fact, the training of the dog actually regressed.”
Gladhill then said: “The fact that she would take advantage of both animals and our veterans. To me that is about as low as it can go.”
MCREE was arrested on a charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals and online records show that she was released from the Smith County Jail on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, after posting a $10,000 bond!
At her civil hearing on Thursday, January 19, MCREE testified that she was admitted to the hospital in late July and left the animals under her relatives’ care.
Many witnesses took the stand on Thursday and after a full day of testimony, Judge Derrick Choice “ordered that all but five animals remain in the custody of animal control,” reports Tyler Morning Telegraph. The news agency further reports that MCREE “was allowed to regain possession of three dogs, the Macaw, and prairie dog.” Judge Choice also ordered MCREE to pay back a total of $3,030 in fees spent by Smith County Animal Control to care for the animals while in its care.
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