By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
Some Pine Harbor residents complain Daniel E. Pierce III, the man whose starving dogs chained to an abandoned school bus created an international social media storm in November, stalks their neighborhood carrying a two-foot-long machete.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pierce on April 24 for probation violations, according to public records. Pierce plead guilty to a charge of tampering or fabricating evidence, a third degree felony, on Jan. 23 and received a probated sentence.
Residents, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of fears of retaliation, said that when they advised the Marion County Sheriff’s Department about Pierce, deputies told them they could not arrest Pierce because the jail was full.
Apparently, Pierce is not that hard to find.
“You just missed him [Pierce],” Mary Lou Milano, owner of Milano’s Grocery in Pine Harbor, said Wednesday. “[Pierce] was in here getting his usual pack of cigarillos.”
The Jimplecute contacted Sheriff David McKnight with a Texas Public Information Act request concerning Pierce and other pending warrants on July 2. Sixteen business days have now passed since that request, exceeding the legal limit of 10.
The Jimplecute also attempted to contact McKnight by email Wednesday morning for comment on why Pierce had not been arrested, but as of press time Wednesday, no response had been received.
Pine Harbor residents told the Jimplecute they felt threatened by Pierce and his machete. Some reported vandalism to their property they believed was caused by Pierce.
One man said he had told Pierce to stay off his property.
Not everyone, however, found Pierce frightening.
“I thought he was stupid,” Milano said. “I never felt threatened by him.”
Milano admitted, however, Pierce often carried the machete.
“I never had a problem with him,” Milano said. “He comes in here, buys what he wants and keeps his nose clean.”
Milano said she once hired Pierce to take down her Christmas lights.
“He’s not a friend,” Milano said. “He’s not a threat.”
On Nov. 17, Pines Café owner Sandra Stephenson photographed emaciated dogs chained outside a school bus on property behind her establishment on FM 729.
“We had a person, cleaning up brush in the back,” Stephenson said at the time. “My husband (Wayne Stephenson) went back to check on him.”
Wayne returned with a photo of a starving dog.
The complaint eventually went to Marion County Chief Deputy Frank Cason.
“An individual texted me and I was off duty Saturday,” Cason said. “I received a picture and sent an on-duty officer to check the validity.”
Meanwhile, photos of the dogs with protruding bones went viral on the internet and other media.
On Nov. 19, deputies secured warrants to seize the dogs and arrest Pierce. The warrants were served early the next day.
According to Cason, Pierce did not resist arrest, although Pierce did attempt to throw away a meth pipe, resulting in the tampering with evidence charge.
Pierce’s mother, Pat Pierce, told the Jimplecute in November she hoped the judge would sentence her son to an extended stay in a detox center. Daniel Pierce received probation, instead.
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