The man who had more than 100 dogs seized from his property Monday night in Burke County was charged Tuesday with 50 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
A tip led investigators to a home on Bill Epley Avenue south of Morganton Monday night.
They served an unrelated warrant of assault on 58-year-old Larry Buff and then proceeded to search the property and turned up 105 animals.
"Some are very dehydrated, others with open wounds," said Animal Control Officer Lt. Steve Massey.
Teddy Stamey of Burke County Friends for Animals said conditions were such that many of the dogs lacked any human contact at all. "Basically they lived their lives in little crates filled with mud and feces." She said the dogs were crowded together. "The crates being about two feet by four feet with four or five dogs inside."
Animal Control Officers spent Tuesday filling out paperwork and working on their investigation into the matter.
Dozens of small puppies had to be euthanized "For medical reasons" said officials. One adult dog was found dead in a pen Tuesday morning. A vet is expected to examine the animals left to determine if they can be saved.
Officials say the dogs were kept in cramped conditions, getting either little water or tainted water to drink, and were in deplorable condition when found.
This is the second time Buff has faced cruelty charges.
In 2003 he was charged after more than 80 dogs were found on the property. He was convicted and spent time in jail. A judge also ordered that he not keep any more than five dogs on his property but that order expired after two years.
Officials say they hope the courts do something so this can't happen a third time.
Buff told WBTV he was sorry for what happened and that "it was just too much for one man to take care of." He added "If I get to heaven I hope I can walk the streets of heaven with some of my pets that I tried so hard to take care of."
Many of the animals will be moved to other shelters where there is more room. Officials said when animals are ready for adoption they will get the word out.
Buff is being held in the Burke County jail under a $75,000 bond. His next court date is May 30th.
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