Local Woman Charged In Shocking Dog Abuse Case

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Judge Mark Pilley, 30th Judicial Circuit, Benton County, has issued a Warrant for Arrest for Tiffany Woodington, for 10 Felony E charges, and two Misdemeanor A charges related to Animal Abuse. 
On September 12, Sgt. Breshears of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Jessica Crampton with the Missouri Humane Society Animal Cruelty Task Force. She reported that Tiffany Woodington was hoarding a large number of dogs in a number of locations in Benton County, and that they were not being properly taken care of. Crampton also revealed that Woodington’s husband, Steve, had been transporting the dogs to Missouri from a rescue shelter that he owned in Texas called “All Accounted For Rescue.” Steve Woodington had been arrested on September 9 at his residence in Texas and charged with Animal Cruelty.
Sgt. Breshears and Jessica Crampton drove to the Woodington residence at 27780 Hwy. 52, in Cole Camp on September 12, noticing strong decaying odors coming from the residence. They also noticed an old school bus and back shed located on the property. The windows of the vehicle and two buildings were all covered with what was apparently paper. However, they did not locate Woodington at the property, so they went to another of her residences at 15580 Hwy. C, in Lincoln where she was located. Woodington said that she had been moving a number of dogs to the Hwy C location from Hwy 52. St. Breshears reported that he observed about 23 small dogs in separate kennels, and they appeared to be malnourished. There was a large amount of feces on the kennel trays and on the dogs. 
Woodington then took Sgt. Breshears and Crampton to a third residence at 1112 Maple Street in Cole Camp where Sgt. Breshears observed approximately 15 dogs and one cat. He reported that the dogs and cat appeared to be lacking food and water and they were covered in feces.
Woodington then returned to the Hwy 52 residence with the Sergeant and Crampton where Sgt. Breshears observed a large number of kennels, some stacked three high, all covered in feces with no food or water bowls. He saw the remains of deceased dogs and one cat that had apparently been dead for an expanded period of time. Only one live cat was found and was immediately removed from the property. Sgt. Breshears observed about 68 dead dogs and one cat at the residence. Woodington stated that all of the dead animals had died within a three-day period from distemper. She had no answer when asked why she didn’t seek help for the animals.
Crampton and the Humane Society removed all of the live dogs from the properties on September 13. Crampton advised that all the dogs have been evaluated by a veterinarian and results will be provided when complete.  However, she said that it appeared that the dogs didn’t have diseases and were only malnourished. The dead animals were also removed and causes of death investigated.
On September 23, Sheriff Eric Knox reported that a total of 120 animals were found dead in this case, and that it seemed improbable that they died of distemper.
“We need to make changes to the Animal Abuse laws in Missouri,” said Sheriff Knox. “We are limited by law as to what we can do because animals are considered property, and people have property rights. Also, a portion of the State of Missouri Statute, Chapter 578.009, states that a person commits the offense of animal neglect if he or she (1) Has custody or ownership of an animal and fails to provide adequate care…. However, the law does not provide a definition of ‘adequate care.’ In Chapter 578.012, a person commits the offense of animal abuse if he or she intentionally or purposely kills an animal…. 120 dogs were killed in this case, and it may be hard to prove that it was done intentionally. We need to push our elected officials to work on these laws.”
The Animal Cruelty charge against Steve Woodington at the intersection of Bingly Road and FM 1847 in Cameron County, Texas, has created a lot of publicity in that state. Apparently, dogs were transferred to the ‘All Accounted For Rescue’ facility from other shelters where they were supposedly being held until a home in Missouri could be found for them. When the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department investigated the facility, over 300 dogs were found in crowded kennels in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions. The animals were covered in feces and urine and some had open sore wounds. Woodington was not able to provide any documentation for the dogs in the facility, and when asked how long it had been since he had last been at the facility, he said “eight days.” He was also unable to say when a veterinarian had last visited the dogs. Cameron County Health Administration personnel arrived to assist in the transporting of the dogs to the Cameron County Dog Shelter. When the dogs were examined, Dr. Clarissa Downey reportedly estimated that more than half of the canines were not going to survive.