'Operation: Don't Be Cruel' arrests 13 on animal cruelty charges

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Harris County Precinct One Deputies conducted "Operation: Don’t be Cruel” on Saturday, August 10.

The warrant round-up was designed to arrest those wanted on various outstanding animal cruelty charges.

More than a dozen two-deputy teams fanned out across Harris County beginning at 5:00 a.m. in an effort to serve open warrants. In all, 13 suspects were arrested, 25 warrants were cleared. At locations where arrests were not made, Precinct One deputies left information so that the accused knows how and where to address their pending criminal case.

Some of the cases date back to 2017.

Among those arrested is defendant Edmond Megdal. Investigators had been working with him since March in an effort to get him to improve living conditions and his care of more than 200 animals discovered on his property. The animals included birds, turtles, mice, rabbits, and bearded dragons. They were discovered living in deplorable conditions without access to water.

While Megdal was arrested Saturday morning, a health condition led him to need medical attention and he was transported to an area hospital. His booking will be completed at a later date. 

Johanna Marie Williams was also arrested on an outstanding animal cruelty charge as well. In February, Precinct One investigators and the Houston SPCA discovered an emaciated dog at her residence. The dog was in such poor condition that a veterinarian gave it a body condition score of “.5” on a scale of 0-9. (Zero is the worst condition, 9 the best.

"Operation: Don’t Be Cruel” began months prior and has resulted in prior arrests as well.

Defendant Tony Carodine surrendered himself prior to today. The 25-year-old is accused of “Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals”. According to investigators, Carodine was seen slamming a dog on the ground on more than one occasion. Some of the events were captured on video. He was seen grabbing the dog by the throat and hitting the dog. A veterinarian with the Houston SPCA evaluated the dog after it was seized by Precinct One animal cruelty investigators, finding it had an older fracture to its right hind leg, a possible newer hairline fracture to its left hind leg, bruising to its face, and a broken left lower canine tooth. Carodine denied any abuse.

“Operation: Don’t Be Cruel” was researched, implemented, and completed by the Office of Alan Rosen, Harris County Constable Precinct One.

The vast majority of those arrested face Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000 if convicted.

The animal cruelty hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven day a week. You can call in a tip directly at 832-927-1659. The Houston SPCA has a similar animal cruelty tip line which can be reached at 713-869-7722.