Owner Defends Actions Against His Pets

By Adria Goins – bio|email

WEBSTER PARISH, La. (KSLA) – Michael Combs said his dogs were his only companions. He was the owner of the 16 dogs picked up by the Webster Parish Sheriff's Department Friday. Combs said he has an explanation for why his dogs were found in such a deplorable state.

"I am not cruel to animals," said Combs.

That was Combs plea to the public after he witnessed video of his dogs on KSLA News 12. More than a dozen dogs were found living in his abandoned trailer home on Lake Bisteneau. One was found dead.

"The conditions were not like that when I stayed there," said Combs.

He started collecting stray dogs back in 2002. Combs said he had 17 dogs at his home at Green Park at one time. Several have been found shot and killed by neighbors. After the trailer started to fall apart, Combs let the dogs take over while he lived out of his vehicle for two years. He said he got to the point where he could not care for the dogs the way he used to anymore.

"My health started going down hill. I found it more and more difficult everyday to feed the dogs. It got to where it would take me a couple of hours."

Combs moved into his mother's home a week ago but said he went back every day to feed his dogs. An animal refuge organization was working with Combs to build a kennel for his pets until the Webster Parish Sheriff's office seized his animals.

"There is no way in the world I let those animals go hungry or injured without doctoring their wounds. I feed and watered them religiously everyday. I loved those dogs."

Combs said he will never see his pets again.

"I'd spend my last dollar to feed those dogs before I'd by me something to eat."

The owner was arrested Friday and faces 15 counts of cruelty to animals and 16 counts of violating the parish's leash laws.

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