TARGET 8: Deeper look into a multi-state animal abuse investigation

3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago Wednesday, October 23 2019 Oct 23, 2019 Wednesday, October 23, 2019 8:07:00 PM CDT October 23, 2019 in News
By: Morgan Riddell, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLE CAMP - Tiffany Woodington is being charged with multiple felony and misdemenor charges all regarding animal abuse in a multi-state operation.

120 dead dogs and one dead cat were found on Woodington’s Benton County property on Sept. 12.

36 live dogs were found on various other properties of hers and taken to the Humane Society of Missouri.

Woodington's husband, Steve Woodington, was arrested in Texas shortly before the Benton property was discovered.

Investigators discovered a warehouse of 300 malnourished dogs in Cameron County, Texas. Half of those dogs were reportedly in such bad condition they were not expected to live or had to be euthanized.

Tiffany and her husband transported and sheltered dogs for a non-profit they started called “All Accounted For.”

Kara Nunez is one of the few who is holding a survivor of Woodington’s operation in her hands. It's her adopted senior dog named Lt. Dan. 

She planned a transport with Woodington to get Lt. Dan to a vet in Columbia three days after his adoption in August.

Nunez was in contact with Woodington and thought all was well with the planned visit, but a week and a half into Woodington’s possession, Nunez saw a breaking news story.

“I see Tiffany Woodington and Cameron County, Texas, and I saw 300 dogs in a warehouse and I couldn't put it all together in my mind at first," Nunez said. "I was having a heart attack.” 

Nunez was lucky Lt. Dan was one of the 23 live dogs moved to Woodington's mother-in-laws house. But many others aren't.  

“They depend on you to be their voice, they can't speak, they can't say what they need, they can't rally in groups and say we want better," Nunez said. "People have to be that voice for them.” 

Janet Perry, one of the protestors present for Woodington’s first court appearance knew she had to be there because the victims and survivors couldn't be.

“I think we all stand united to be the voice for the animals,” Perry said. 

One additional voice is pushing through for these victims. Sheriff Eric Knox saw first hand the conditions these animals were left in. 

“Unfortunately whether you have a couple of deceased animals or you have 120, the law is still the same, so we need to change that,” Knox said.

The highest sentence for this crime is a Class E Felony, which he said isn't harsh enough.

“The laws need to be changed, and if people feel strongly enough about it to reach out to lawmakers to get it changed,” Knox said. “The conditions that I saw were not livable for any animal. The feces and the conditions of the cages were bad enough without seeing the deceased animals in different forms of decaying. In my career I’ve never seen anything this tragic.”

And he’s not the only one feeling this. 

“Shock, disbelief,” Perry said.

Documents from the property themselves describe a horrific scene. 

“Prior to entering the property, Tiffany advised she had found a few dead dogs that she had not yet disposed of. As I entered the residence, the smell so strong I had to cover my nose with my shirt to be able to walk through the residence.”

It continued, "I observed the remains of deceased dogs and one cat all in a stage of decay that suggests they had been dead for an extended period of time. I observed a number of the dogs to have nothing left other than the bones and dog collars still in the kennel.”

The investigator said he observed "approximately 68 dead dogs and one cat on the property."

Woodington told the deputy that due to a case of distemper from a recent Texas transport, all the dogs died within a three-day span.

Now, many rescuers are asking themselves how they didn't notice signs.  

“In Missouri, she was not a rescue," Nunez said. "Missouri requires that rescues have a department of agriculture license."

An administrator for the Department of Agriculture told KOMU, "Tiffany Woodington (dba All Accounted For) has not been licensed under the Animal Care Facilities Act and we have no records that indicate that she has ever applied for a license." 

An investigation by the Department of Agriculture began in March of this year after a report of Woodington dropping off two emaciated Boxers. 

The investigative report says the Department of Agriculture conducted a site visit in March. An investigator told Woodington she was operating unlicensed and must cease activity. Woodington agreed she would stop activity but was moving to Texas so she would not be applying.

A veterinarian in Eldon then reported Woodington’s operation in April for dropping off malnourished dogs. The manager at Eldon Spay and Neuter said the condition was so bad, they were unable to do basic shots for one of the dogs. 

The investigator showed up at Woodington’s property again in June along with a Veterinarian. They were unable to make contact with Woodington and they brought the allegation to the Benton County Sheriffs Office on June 12.

On July 23, investigators reached out to Woodington for the status of her move. Woodington explained that the move was delayed, but ensured she had not and was not doing any rescue work.

The investigation then stalled until Sept. 18, when attendees of a meeting told Animal Care Program Manager Matt Rold what had been discovered almost a week prior, on Sept. 12. 

KOMU reached out to Woodington and her attorney via email and phone, but did not hear back from either.  

She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 8. Previously she requested two changes of judge in Benton County.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - After years in the making, Columbia City Council will be one step closer in deciding the final steps... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:05:20 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY—The Department of Planning and Protective Services in Jefferson City declared the first building with tornado damage as “dangerous”... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 6:03:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
SWEET SPRINGS - In some parts of Missouri, rural health care is on life support. A bright green handwritten... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:31:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — As the hunting season begins hunters are being encouraged to share their harvests to help fellow Missourians. ... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:29:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A new Missouri law will honor five veterans from Boone County killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:03:55 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging hunters to stay safe after an incident Saturday night. One... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 4:59:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City school district is increasing the pay of its substitute teachers in a... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 1:49:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – From showcasing hand-carved wooden canes to hosting a silent auction for a local food bank, the annual art... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:03:00 AM CST November 17, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Officials confirmed there was a hunting incident Saturday night. Boone County Sheriff's deputies and several medical... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 6:43:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One person has been detained following a police chase that ended at the Taco Bell on Providence Road... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:11:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested one person after a report of shots fired on Quail Drive Saturday afternoon. Earl Tramail... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:41:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Deputies were dispatched to the Midway Travel Plaza on Saturday for a reported bomb threat, but they... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 12:24:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former Kansas City Chiefs football player and eight codefendants have had additional charges filed against them... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:51:00 AM CST November 16, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - There have been three water boil advisories in the past week for about 50 people in the Hickory... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 6:57:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors charged a man Friday with child sex crimes which court documents said happened in 2018 and 2019.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 4:05:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
MOBERLY – Moberly City Council approved a $4.6 million bid to replace all of the water meters in the city.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 3:28:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Organizers from ECHO Autism's summit are pushing for more resources for people with autism in rural Missouri. Many... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Housing Authority is looking for ways to give new life to four historical homes. Executive... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 37°
5am 35°
6am 34°
7am 33°
8am 35°