Local News

Sanford Breeders Under Fire for Housing Hundreds of Pets

Posted February 14, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— A Sanford pet breeder and her husband have come under fire for housing hundreds of pets in their home.

According to Lee County Animal Control, Barbara and Robert Woodley have more than 300 dogs and birds living inside and outside of their home. That is 200 more animals than are housed at the county animal shelter.

Despite 10 formal, and a number of anonymous complaints over the past three years, the city says there is nothing it can do about the situation.

Robert Woodley told WRAL that the dogs are not mistreated, and he and his wife are trying to scale back.

According to the county's animal control, the Woodleys are not breaking any laws since the city does not limit the number of animals a person can have in their home.

Animal control director Mike Haynes says there is no evidence that the animals are being mistreated. He says a number of visits have been made to the home and the animals are provided food, water and veterinary care.

"We do not see any cruelty or neglect that would meet a definition where we could step in," he says.

John Fiore, the lead animal control officer in Sanford, has seen the inside of Woodleys home first-hand.

"In the front room, there's a bunch of cages, and puppies inside the cages," he says. "There are about 50 dogs on one side, and 50 on the other, so I guess she was splitting them, male and female. When you went on further, you would open up a door, and more dogs would come piling out."

Pat Sprouse, an animal lover, says it is a clear case of animal cruelty. She says she will continue to fight until the animals get a new home.

"People call the Humane Society continuously, waging complaints. They want the Humane Society to do something and we can't," she says.

The Woodleys, who refused to talk to WRAL, were fined $2,000 by theAmerican Kennel Clublast March. Their AKC privileges suspended for 10 years for failure to comply with record-keeping and indentification rules. The punishment had nothing to do with the conditions at their home.

Sanford city leaders say there are no plans to enforce a pet limit ordinance.

TheSan-Lee Humane Societyis looking for a lawyer to help them make their animal cruelty claim in court. Michelle SingerandKamal Wallace