Find a back issue

Craig Watkins Places Blame in Pig Blood Case

As has been reported, felony charges against Columbia Packing Co., the slaughterhouse accused of putting pig blood into the Trinity River, were dropped this week by the District Attorney’s office without much explanation or comment. Councilman Dwaine Caraway has claimed the investigation was “mishandled” by one of the organizations involved. Those would be the Dallas County Health and Human Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Well it looks like the Dallas County Health and Human Services is taking the blame from D.A. Craig Watkins. And it’s not just a mishandling. “They violated the law,” Watkins said to D Academy this afternoon. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

2 comments on “Craig Watkins Places Blame in Pig Blood Case

  1. Here’s what happened. The HHS investigator went looking for the source of the pig blood. In so doing, he walked onto property owned by Columbia. Was he trespassing? Maybe. Maybe not. The law is gray-ish in this particular case. Signs have to be posted and so forth. And then there’s the matter of land through which a river flows. It’s treated differently by the law. If I’m not mistaken, for example, all the land below “normal” flow level is public. I only KINDA know what I’m talking about here, law-wise. You’ll forgive me.

    What I DO know (or think that I know) is that a smart defense attorney could (would) claim in court that the HHS investigator broke the law to take pictures of the pig blood discharge location. The DA’s office didn’t have the stomach to fight that fight. Probably understandably.

    How do I know (or think I know) this? Can’t say. But just know the following: it was pig blood, coming from Columbia, and it was turning the Trinity River red.

  2. River flows, clear creek is not a river, but a drainage creek leading into a river. I heard that they were told specifically not to go onto their property without a proper search warrant. and 3 days the investigator took pictures of the broken vent pipe in the sewer line between Columbia and the Dallas City Sewer main. This was around Dec 9, almost 6 weeks before the invasion of Columbia by multiple agencies. The only way that the waste would come up out of the ground at the broken vent pipe would be if the line was stopped up down stream of the pipe. Yes, Columbia found the broken vent on or about Jan 17, the day before the agencies and Mr. Caraway descended upon Columbia. The shut down the processing floor, called their subcontractor to investigate the problem and fix it. The sub contractor found the line clogged at the connection from the Plant sewer line and the Dallas City main sewer line to be clogged. He proceeded to unclog the line and repair the broken vent.
    I have to ask the question. Why did the City take 6 weeks to notify Columbia of a problem. Columbia Packing property partially lies in the area that is to be included in the Trinity River Project and the city wanted to close the company to enable them to take the land at percentage of the real value. The City did not care enough about the spillage to inform the company of a potential problem. They just wanted to stick it to the company.