June 7, 2005 – Posted at 5:13 p.m. CDT
RIPLEY COUNTY, MO -- Some residents in one Region 8 community are concerned about property that houses nearly 100 dogs.
The rundown home outside of Tucker is owned by Paul Edwards of Doniphan and that's where he keeps what he calls his children. But concerned neighbors say the conditions the dogs live in are horrible.
“The dogs are kept in not the greatest conditions. There are a lot of safety issues here. There's a lot of overgrown grass and it's a fire hazard and everyone in the area is pretty much concerned for these dogs,” said concerned neighbor Jan Rogers, “We'd like to see them taken out of the situation.”
But property owner Edwards says the dogs are being looked after.
“I feed them, I water them, I give them shelter, medical care and affection. You can't ask for too much more than that. A lot of people don't get that,” said Edwards.
With nearly a 100 dogs, it's pretty loud on the property just outside of Tucker, and our news crew discovered that several of the animals didn't have clean water.
Edwards says he makes the 20-mile trip from Doniphan every day to check on the animals.
“I go out there every day to take care of them,” said Edwards.
“I just feel that his heart is in the wrong place,” said Rogers, “He doesn't see the circumstance he is forcing them to live under.”
“It's a hard case to deal with because if there is abuse, it stems from people not being present from the residences to care for the animals,” said Ripley County Sheriff Adam Whittom.
Sheriff Whittom says they haven't found that Edwards provides inadequate care. But part of the reason the Sheriff's department hasn't been able to do anything about the dogs is because Ripley County doesn't have an animal shelter, and there is simply no place to put this number of dogs.
Edwards admits taking care of the dogs is almost more than he can handle. He says he spends between $500 and $800 dollars a month for food, water and medical treatment for the animals. But he says he's not opposed to adopting them out.
“If someone came to me looking for a dog and I knew that they could be trusted, I'd give them one,” said Edwards.
“If you can't maintain your animals or take care of them, I’m sure there is somebody else that can,” said Sheriff Whittom.
Rogers said, “To me, it's like they are in a prison. They seem to be nice dogs and they deserve a lot more.”