Despite the recent failure of the Texas legislature to pass a bill before the end of its session which would have required commercial dog and cat breeders to meet stricter health and handling requirements, citizen action has forced one abusive puppy mill to close.
Cloyce and Carol Heddins, owners of “Maggic Pets,” operated a kennel so squalid that Dillon Steen, a former employee of Maggic Pets , says “I’ll never get those images out of my head of everything I saw out there.” Steen describes Maggic Pets in decidedly unmagic terms: “If you went and voiced anything about concerns about eye colds or this one’s limping it didn’t matter as long as that dog could still breed that’s all that mattered [. . .] Puppies would go to start dying and rather than them being taken to the vet they’d be thrown in an empty dog food bag and thrown in the back of a truck and just let lay there until they died.”
A citizen activist who witnessed these abuses took the case to the Humane Society, who called the Heddins’ puppy mill one of the worst cases they had ever seen in North Texas.
On July 17th, a Montague county judge ruled against the Heddins and ordered that their nearly 500 dogs be given into the care of the Humane Society of North Texas. The testimonies of veteranarians, investigators from the Humane Society, and of Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham all contributed to the judge’s decision, who did not find the Heddins’ argument that evidence obtained from a search warrant was invalid convincing. Moreover, the Heddins were ordered to pay $40,000 to HSNT for the treatment and care of the dogs, though many were ill enough that the sum is not likely to be enough to cover costs. Prosecutors in the case have requested that the dogs remain in the care of HSNT while they pursue criminal charges.