Local News

Dogs Removed From Lee County Home, Taken To Makeshift Shelter

Posted April 13, 2005 4:01 a.m. EDT

— After a long court battle, animal control officers are removing hundreds of dogs from a Lee County home. A Sanford judge found the dog owners guilty of animal cruelty and awarded custody to an animal rights group.

One by one, animal control officers, vets and volunteers loaded dogs into crates and into vans on Wednesday. It was a sight the dogs' owner Robert Woodley could barely stand to watch.

"I just don't like it. I just don't like it," dog owner Robert Woodley said. "Anything I had to say, they didn't care about it. They just built a case on nothing to get them."

Woodley insists that he and his wife, Barbara, cared for the dogs.

"One thing they've been saying is that they want to build a case against me," Woodley said. "They don't tell the truth on nothing. The bigger the lie, the better they like it."


Animal League Defense Fund

sued the Woodleys for animal cruelty and won. A judge ordered the animals removed. The group has already taken more than 100 dogs. On Wednesday, the group took nearly 200 dogs.

"My job is a crushing job, maybe the most depressing job on the planet, but I feel like I'm doing the highest calling, helping innocent beings who can't help themselves, so that's why I'm here," said Bruce Wagman, of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The animals are being brought to a warehouse in Sanford where they will receive medical care, food and temporary housing.

"Most of the problems we're seeing are related to chronic lack of vet care, everything from poor air quality, inadequate nutrition for some and too much for others," said Kelli Ferris, a veterinarian at North Carolina State University.

Veterinarians said many of the dogs have serious physical problems because of neglect.

"They have external parasites, internal parasites. They have problems with their eyes because of levels of high ammonia," Ferris said.

A local businessman donated the warehouse space. The supplies were either donated or purchased at cost.

The Woodleys have appealed their case so the animals cannot yet be adopted. The sickest dogs will go to vets and the others will go to foster homes.

If you would like to help the animals, monetary donations can be made to: Capital Bank c/o Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF)/Sanford Relief Effort 2222 Jefferson Davis Highway Sanford, N.C. 27332