A farmer in
More than one hundred endangered animals are in temporary homes as of Tuesday night. Their owner says it all stems from a dispute with a neighbor and now he wants his animals back.
"I woke up this morning and people came to take the animals." says the animals’ owner Doug Ledbetter.
But when it comes to complaints about Doug Ledbetter, it's been three strikes and now the animals are out.
"The Humane Society gave us the list of things that needed to be corrected in mid-April." says Major Jim Hedlesten with the Howell County Sheriff’s Department. "We came back and there was no improvement."
On this third visit, investigators say conditions were the worse yet. They say lack of food, water and shelter as just part of the reason more than 100 animals were confiscated.
"We have a lot of medical issues. The horses are underweight. The goats are sick and have old injuries that aren't healing. And these animals are knee-deep in feces." says Kyle Held, an investigator with the Humane Society of Missouri.
It takes a professional rescue crew of eleven to round up the animals, check their conditions and document the entire process. A process Ledbetter calls unnecessary.
He says, "There are some that are thin, but we fatten them up."
Ledbetter says he and his family buy sick animals at auction, nurse them back to health and then sell them again.
"I can see them taking a goat with pink eye. But those horses are in good shape, I don't know why they took them." says Ledbetter.
Now instead of managing his menagerie, he's busy finding a way to bring them back to the farm.
"I feel they've done me wrong." says Ledbetter.
Ledbetter is due in court for a hearing Monday. Meanwhile, the sheriff's department is waiting for word from vets to determine the number of charges to issue in relation to animal abuse and cruelty.
Meantime, the large animals are at the Humane Society farm in