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State Seeks to Shut Down Illegally-Operated Assisted Care Facility Zoe's Safe Place

Ryan McRimmon/Texas Tribune
The Attorney General's Office filed an injunction to shut down Zoe's Safe Place, an unlicensed assisted care facility in North Austin.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is asking for a restraining order against an unlicensed assisted living facility in Austin. The AG’s Office says it was alerted by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services about Zoe’s Safe Place on Burnet Road, and the office’s request for an injunction alleges that Zoe’s Safe Place and its founder have violated the Texas Health & Safety Code, threatening the health and safety of its residents.

The controversy surrounding the assisted living facility began last week, when Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services responded to a call at Zoe’s Safe Place. Prior to that call, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services had been surveying the property after receiving the complaint.

Here's an interview with @ATCEMS on this mornings investigation at Zoe's Place on Burnet. — Miguel Mike Gaytán (@MikeGaytanTx) August 21, 2015

Capt. Rick Rutledge told Univision’s Mike Gaytan that EMS responders found residents with lice and that there were complaints about a lack of air conditioning.

According to the injunction request, surveyors also noted substandard kitchen conditions, allegations of drug use and instances of resident-on-resident violence. One of the residents told a surveyor that he had been sexually assaulted by his roommates.

The injunction seeks to shut down the facility and prosecute the owner of Zoe’s, Tommie Yvette McKinney.