Rescue groups in North Texas and authorities in Sevier County, Arkansas, are trying to find out why a couple left dozens of dogs and cats to die at a home in southwest Arkansas.
In early December, authorities found the animals at a home in the 100 block of Bradley Chapel Road in Horatio, Arkansas. Many of them were severely malnourished, and at least eight of them had been shot and killed.
Authorities have charged Brian Moore with eight counts of animal cruelty after they said he confessed to shooting the dogs. His alleged accomplice, Whitney Smither, fled to Indiana. The couple worked for the Ark-La-Tex Animals Rescue Group in Texarkana.
Officials at the rescue said the pair had permission to pull animals for rescue from shelters, but the rescue now realizes Moore and Whitney were taking more animals than they were authorized to for an extended period of time.
"My mistake was trusting Whitney," said Whitney Harrison, a member of the rescue group. "We didn't know she was pulling so many aniimals."
The City of Fort Worth worked with the rescue group from January to November before they severed ties. During that time, Ark-La-Tex pulled more than 161 animals from the shelter, but the city does not know how many animals the couple got their hands on.
"When you meet these dogs for the first time you make promises. You promise them that there will be an end to their pain," said Kristi Cameron, whose been rescuing and fostering dogs for 15 years.
Cameron cannot help but feel guilty about the dog she left with Moore and Smither in September. She said the young couple seemed nice, but they seemed new to animal rescue.
"I kind of gave them some advice," Camerson said. "Keep plenty of money in the bank account, don't take too many animals."
"As time went on, I kept seeing them pull more and more dogs," she said. "That's a red flag."
Ark-La-Tex rescue is gathering information to give to authorities in hopes that it leads to charges against Smither.
Fifteen animals recovered at the home were returned to North Texas. They're receiving support from Dallas DogRRR, and some of them have already been adopted.
If Brian Moore is convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.