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Palmhurst may sue ‘animal rescue’ organization for keeping dozens of dogs at a local home

Jesus Meave, the founder of the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team, shows off kennels on Stewart Road in Palmhurst. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / The Progress Times)

 

The Palmhurst City Council wants a self-styled “animal rescue” organization to stop operating from a house on Stewart Road.

Members of the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team — an organization managed by Maria “Marisa” Wade, 49, of Palmhurst and Jesus Meave, 61, of Palmhurst — keep dozens of dogs in homemade kennels near the house.

The Palmhurst Police Department cited Meave in June for operating a dog kennel within 50 feet of nearby homes, but he didn’t shut down. During a meeting on Friday morning, the City Council authorized the city attorney to take legal action.

“I’m an animal lover. I have four dogs myself,” said police Chief Michael Vela. “And we just want to make sure that the person who owns the location or is running it, that he goes by the rules. It’s just like any other city, any other place in the state of Texas.”

Meave said he founded the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team, which is known to supporters as “FAART,” in 2014.

At the time, Meave lived in McAllen. He built kennels on property near the Boeye Reservoir and started accepting dogs.

“I fought with the animal control, I fought with the code enforcement, I fought with the judge,” Meave said.

He also had problems with the McAllen Police Department, which arrested Meave on theft and gambling charges in September 2016.

Piles of trash at the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team property on Stewart Road in Palmhurst. (Photo courtesy of Paula Mendez.)

Prosecutors dropped the theft charge. Meave pleaded not guilty to the gambling charges, which remain pending.

The gambling charges resulted from a poker game and slot machines he stored for a friend, said Meave, who denied that he did anything wrong.

McAllen also received a complaint against Meave that accused him of participating in dog fighting. Meave denied the allegations, which never resulted in criminal charges.

Wade and Meave incorporated the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team in June 2019, according to documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. After they incorporated, Meave moved from McAllen to Palmhurst.

“We came over here for a couple of reasons. One, because it was bigger. Two, because I was tired of fighting,” Meave said. “I mean, I was winning. But it’s not about winning. It takes time. It’s frustrating.”

They picked a three-acre property on Stewart Road between 2 Mile Road and Buddy Owens Boulevard.

“Initially, everybody ignored us,” Meave said. He built more than a dozen kennels and started accepting injured, stray and unwanted animals.

Along with dogs and cats, Meave said he cared for a pig, turtles, chickens, a rabbit and a horse.

During an interview on Thursday, neither Meave nor Wade said they knew how many animals were on the property.

“It’s a lot more than 20, but I don’t know exactly how many there are. Because the thing is, the number changes,” Meave said. “I can tell you that, at one point, we had close to 300.”

Unlike other animal rescue organizations, Meave said the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team didn’t shut down when the pandemic started. As a result, they became inundated with animals.

Neighbors became concerned.

“And I told them, I said: ‘Yes, we got out of hand because it was during the COVID thing. Nobody was doing nothing for them. Everybody was shutting down. So we picked up the slack,’” Meave said.

The concerns, though, didn’t go away.

Officers cited Meave on June 9, 2021, when they accused him of building dog kennels within 50 feet of a residence, operating a business without a permit, failing to maintain a premises where livestock is kept and keeping “any dog in the city which by loud, frequent or habitual barking or howling shall cause annoyance and disturb the peace and quiet of any person.”

Meave pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.

A pig at the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team property on Stewart Road in Palmhurst. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / The Progress Times)

 

“And I almost got the idea that they were willing to pay a monthly fine, you know, and just keep operating,” said City Attorney Darrell Davis.

Davis asked the City Council for permission to take legal action, which may include a lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order.

As part of the lawsuit, Davis asked people who live near the Franklin All Animal Rescue Team property to sign affidavits. They agreed.

“The smell is horrible,” said Paula Mendez, 47, of Palmhurst, who lives next door. “And that’s my concern: The smell.”

Mendez said the smell of dog poop and trash makes her backyard unpleasant. She had to stop barbecuing and keep children indoors.

The dogs bark at all hours, Mendez said, waking her up early and preventing her from falling asleep.

“I’m glad that the city is already taking action,” Mendez said. “Because it’s time for them to move somewhere else.”

18 Comments

  1. Ruths' Dogs on December 4, 2021 at 12:28 am

    Please help this organization. I’m sorry poop smells. And that 50 feet is not enough space from homes, to help stray dogs. Also dogs bark. And our communities do not have set ups for strays. Please help F.A.A.R.T. by not fining them. I’m sure they are not perfect. However, these are people willing to help animals. Please residents make sacrifices so FAART can sustain.

    • Maria on December 10, 2021 at 11:50 am

      These people are known animal abusers. They take in injured dogs for money and never get them
      Vet care. They sell donations provided to them. During covid, MANY rescues were taking in dogs because there were more adopters. I have no idea what he is talking about! But he is a known liar, dog fighter and gambler. All his dogs are sitting on dog poop all the time. Marisa is just as bad as he is. Hopefully the city shuts them down for good!

      • Jess M on December 11, 2021 at 10:00 am

        Exactly. I hope they are finally shut down, they’re disgusting. All they care about is money, they’ve had dogs suffering there with no vet care. They’re in a crate dying it’s awful. They’ll have them till they die or they’re done collecting all donations they can get. And of course others beg to take the dog and get them real vet care. So out of all the donations they get none goes to the dog. Others reputable good rescues have begged them to hand over dogs that need immediate vet care, and they would say no. If they were really animal lovers they’d do anything to get that dog help right away. If they know they can’t afford it then don’t take in a dog suffering, let a rescue that can actually afford it get the dog. So they’re full of poop, it’s not about the animals to them. And yeah that’s total Bs about no rescues taking in dogs and cats lol. That’s when they were actually so busy and dogs were being adopted quick. Please don’t stop and shut them down. If you support this heartless dog fighter you’re as crazy as they are. One dog literally chewed off his leg there in a crate 😭 If y’all were to just see cases they’ve had my gosh they’re awful people. Finally something is being done.

      • Cathy bohm on December 20, 2021 at 4:43 pm

        Sorry to hear that. My husband and i were visiting family in Brownsville and Harlingen i was impressed with the amount of strays and nobody is doing anything. Someone referred me with this organization because we found a puppy in the streets. I called them and they didn’t waste time to come and pick up the pupp. I was curious and we went to visit. After a few visits and 3 adoptions later we are complete. We have our family thanx to Marisa Wade and the great labor of love they do. Please don’t shut them down. Who is going to care for all those animals that nobody wants. If people were more responsible there were no need for a shelter. Don’t blame them. Blame the people who trow this poor souls like trash.

    • Carla Garcia on December 11, 2021 at 7:29 am

      Completely agree

      • Carla Garcia on December 11, 2021 at 7:33 am

        Completly Agree with Rith’s dog 100 %

    • Carla Garcia on December 11, 2021 at 7:30 am

      Comoletly agree

    • Azzy Saldana on December 16, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      We should be grateful in our area to have FARRT rescue. They have helped and cured so many abandoned pets. Animals that would be getting killed on the streets or dying of starvation all over the place, then we would have a hygiene/health problem in our cities. They should be given time to make the changes needed and at this time with the Pandemic is not the time. Money is scarce. Please give them more time to try to comply.

    • Cathy bohm on December 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      Sorry to hear that. My husband and i were visiting family in Brownsville and Harlingen i was impressed with the amount of strays and nobody is doing anything. Someone referred me with this organization because we found a puppy in the streets. I called them and they didn’t waste time to come and pick up the pupp. I was curious and we went to visit. After a few visits and 3 adoptions later we are complete. We have our family thanx to Marisa Wade and the great labor of love they do. Please don’t shut them down. Who is going to care for all those animals that nobody wants. If people were more responsible there were no need for a shelter. Don’t blame them. Blame the people who trow this poor souls like trash.

  2. Beth on December 10, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    As a member of the rescue community (not from Texas), I am so happy to see that local officials are finally considering taking action against Maeve and Wade. I hope the Council will follow through.
    Maeve and Wade hold severely injured dogs hostage to getting “enough” donations from their followers (who are out of state and don’t have a clue about them) before they’ll even pretend to take them to a vet. No donations; no vet. Donations come in; still might not get to the vet. These dogs could’ve been seen and treated immediately if they had allowed another rescue to help the dog.
    I’m all for supporting good rescues but these two aren’t a good rescue — they aren’t a rescue. They are liars and thieves who use dogs to get money for their own purposes. Shut em down.

    • Dezzie Howe on December 11, 2021 at 5:13 pm

      I am the Director of a rescue in Louisiana. I took the trip down to see for myself Please there place looks and is put together better than shelters here. They work there butts off. And as far as they hold injured animals It’s just not true we went down to help with one but by the time we got there we came back with 2. If you are truly in rescue you know they are doing what a small shelter in that area would be doing. The City council members have no idea how much money they are saving because of FARRT they need to make sure they have a Solution for their stray problems before they close down the only people helping them.. That area is in trouble they need all the people they can get and I’m gonna tell you we got there early we walked in every kennel was clean by 10 AM are you kidding me how can anyone complain about this place it makes absolutely no sense except for keyboard Warriors that think that they could do better but they don’t. I as a director of a rescue will continue to work with them no matter where they go but the city would be foolish to let them move anywhere.

  3. Tammy on December 10, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    About time they are held accountable, this is NOT a reputable rescue, dogs are not properly cared for and when they die they become pig feed. Money donated goes first to Jesus and his needs. They do not own this property and I am sure the owner will not want this negative attention. People have been trying to expose them for years. How does a “rescue” not know how many animals they have on property at all times?

    • Carla Garcia on December 10, 2021 at 11:06 pm

      The community should help Franklin All Animal Rescue Team being a good rescue. unfortunately there are many people who speak for speaking based on gossip my friend from Brownville adopted a bullie pit and has volunteered many times and had a good impression of the rescue. We all have mistakes and no one is perfect and not everyone is willing to rescue 24 hours a day and not have a normal life. Focus on the animals not to the feelings of the hateful because if you are not giving a solution then do not be a problem.

  4. Jess M on December 11, 2021 at 11:54 am

    I’m guessing you never saw those dogs suffering and dying slowly in the crappy crates? All they care about is money, they’ve had dogs suffering there with no vet care. They’re in a crate dying it’s awful. They’ll have them till they die or they’re done collecting all donations they can get. And of course others beg to take the dog and get them real vet care. So out of all the donations they get none goes to the dog. Others reputable good rescues have begged them to hand over dogs that need immediate vet care, and they refuse to accept the help. If they were really animal lovers they’d do anything to get that dog help right away. Do you think that’s wanting what’s best for the dogs? If they know they can’t afford it then don’t take in a dog suffering, let a rescue that can actually afford it get the dog. God willing the city finally shuts them down. If you support this heartless dog fighter you’re as crazy as they are. A dog literally chewed off his leg there in a crate 😭 Finally something is being done.

    • Sonia Almanza on December 17, 2021 at 6:33 am

      Why would u lie and say they get no vet care when i have seen them at Animal hospital in Weslaco and im for sure all the rescuers have never had a dog die on them and his past they mentined here OMG has nothing to do with whats going on about dog fighting mmm rumors he never got charged with that lie and dog chewing leg off mmm the time of pandemic i couldnt even get any vets to see me or my dogs appointments only and wait outside in a car week later of my dog being sick and u newspaper man go take pics of the filth they have in some of our local shelters hmmm inhumane for those fur babies

  5. Suz on December 11, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    I have adopted a dog from this rescue team and have had no complaints. I have also volunteered from time. They are amazing and they are doing that they can with they have

  6. Sonia Almanza on December 16, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Aww what other lies can they make up They are not doing it for the donations they dont have a luxurious car or dress with name brand clothes the woman whos complaining what does she want for the dogs to whisper and they do a good job of carring for the dogs the ones that cross to heaven was their time the city needs to worry about real crimes who abandon the dog how did the dogs end up in bad shape now i have nobody to take the dogs i find left in the middle of knowhere jente chillona

  7. Susan on December 16, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Every one complains but do you have a resolve? I donate to Faart, they have gone over and beyond locating lost animals and relocating, sick, and harmed ..WHAT IS YOUR RESOLVE?

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