BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - The man officers say kept more than 100 dogs in poor conditions now faces 50 counts of animal cruelty.
The owner who's accused of hoarding the animals said he did the best he could to care for them.
“I loved the dogs,” Larry Buff said. “I gave them everything I had to give them.”
Buff said he didn’t mistreat the 110 dogs seized from his property south of Morganton.
Investigators went to his home Monday after receiving a complaint about the animals.
“You would have two medium-sized dogs in a rabbit cage where they didn't even have enough room to turn around,” Lt. Steve Massey with Burke Animal Control said.
Animal control officers said they found other dogs in boxes and crates. Already, workers said they have spotted skin disorders, large cuts and other medical problems with the animals.
Neighbors said it was difficult to see what was going on because of the fence around the property.
“He didn't want to see no homeless animals,” neighbor Randolph Patton said. “He'd pick them up and take them home with him.”
Deputies think Buff is a hoarder. At the shelter Tuesday, Eyewitness News spotted people who live nearby looking for their lost pet.
“Hopefully he has ours,” neighbor Suzanne Pearson said. “I want to be there at his trial when he comes up for trial.”
Buff admitted he had too many dogs. He hopes they find a home now.
“If I go to heaven -- if I make it to heaven, I hope to walk the streets of heaven with some of my pets that I tried my best to care for,” he said.
Animal Control said a veterinarian will look at the dogs Tuesday evening.