Diane McInnes Puppy mill case Bryan, TX June 14, 2005
  19 birds, 20+ dogs removed   January 27, 2004
  17 dogs, 12 birds seized   May 26, 2004

On Tuesday, August 8th, Diane McInnes was cleared of 24 misdemeanor charges after a judge ruled that her home had been improperly searched by police.  McInnes has been accused several times in recent years of operating an illegal puppy mill out of a residential neighborhood.  Attorneys stated that she could have faced fines up to $12,000 for the Class C misdemeanors, all of which were for not having proper licensing information and rabies vaccinations for the dogs.  During the hearing, Animal Control Officer Patti Stepp described finding a room in McInnes’ home with a ‘putrid smell’ that contained 18 puppies in cages.

Defense Attorney Bruno Shimek argued before Municipal Judge Latham Boone III that the search of her residence was illegal – officers entered her Barak Lane home without a search warrant and without permission.  The raid on McInnes’ home occurred in June 2005 after police received a tip from neighbors that the frequent offender was at it again. 

  (Photo from May, 2004 raid, courtesy of Dave McDermand, Eagle)  It was not her first run-in with authorities over the years. After a raid of her home in 2004, McInnes had been ordered by Judge Boone to sell 19 birds and give up 20 dogs that he determined were cruelly confined.  A few months later, her home was raided again causing a Justice of the Peace to order that 14 dogs and 12 birds be permanently removed. Three other dogs perished due to health problems while in custody.  McInnes was fined $250 in Municipal Court several weeks later for operating a kennel in a single-family zone. She had also been fined one other time, in 1999, for keeping more than four dogs in her home, according to court records.

Prosecutor Albert Navarro addressed McInnes’ history on Tuesday and expressed disappointment in the judge’s ruling.  He stated that it was recognized as an ongoing problem and that he saw no wrongdoing on the part of the police.  Bryan Police Department Officials agreed with Navarro that they did nothing wrong in searching the home after an undercover officer had posed as a potential buyer, viewing her setup first hand. The Police Department conducts regular training on search and seizure and feels they did everything they could to obtain evidence to ensure proper prosecution.

Shimek stated his client feels vindicated by the judge’s decision.  She had felt that she had been singled out for prosecution due to an ongoing dispute with neighbors.  Shimek also stated that McInnes now has everything up to code and is not worried about further prosecution.

Reference:

The Eagle