A Missouri couple operating an animal rescue are facing animal abuse charges after authorities found nearly 150 dead dogs and rescued hundreds more living in “unimaginable conditions” at properties in Missouri and Texas.
Tiffany and Steven Woodington operated All Accounted For, which brought animals from Texas to Missouri, the Benton County, Mo., Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Monday.
Authorities said they found nearly 300 animals living at the operations in Texas and Missouri, and many of the animals had to be euthanized because of poor health.
Tiffany Woodington, 49, is charged in Missouri with 10 counts of felony animal abuse and two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse. Her husband, Steven Woodington, 55, is charged in Texas with 19 counts of animal cruelty. A second man described as the caretaker also was charged in Texas with animal cruelty. All three are free on bond.
Cameron County, Texas, Sheriff Omar Lucio said Tuesday that authorities discovered about 270 animals — about two dozen of them dead — on a property in the small community of Los Fresnos, which is in the far southern part of the state. Many of the dogs were reportedly covered in feces and urine, or were packed together in cages.
Lucio, who's been in law enforcement for more than 50 years, called the finding “the worst case of animal abuse” he’s ever seen.
The Benton County Sheriff's Office said Steven Woodington was transporting the animals to Cole Camp, Mo., about 90 miles southeast of Kansas City. At a property there, the sheriff’s office said it found about 120 dead dogs and a dead cat in "various stages of decay, some were just bones.”
Authorities also found 38 dogs and one cat "alive but in unimaginable conditions." Tiffany Woodington had moved some of them to another location in the area, a sheriff's sergeant wrote in a report.
Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox said he had heard "not a word" about problems before the dead animals were found, even though the nearest neighbor lived about 500 feet away.
"It really surprises me that no one in the community said, 'You better check that lady out.' And the smell, as soon as I drove up, I could smell it," he said. "I am a dog lover, and I struggle with it."
No attorney is listed for Tiffany Woodington in online court records and she doesn't have a listed number. Paul Fourt Jr., the attorney for her husband, said Tuesday he needed to speak with his client before commenting on the accusations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.