Sixteen dead dogs were found in a former dog rescuer's foreclosed Texas home.
Carly Jo Underwood, 29, of Midland, Texas, was arrested and booked into jail on 16 counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals – torture, after authorities said she left the dogs to fend for themselves when she abandoned her home.
Underwood was last seen at the home eight months ago. She was taken into custody after her flight landed at Midland International Air & Space Port on Wednesday, and booked into jail on the cruelty counts, in addition to three other, unrelated misdemeanor warrants.
Carly Jo Underwood, 29, was arrested Wednesday on 16 counts of animal cruelty after abandoning 16 dogs to their deaths in her Midland, Texas home. Some dogs were locked in cages and other cannibalized each other during the eight months that she was gone
The remains of the 16 dogs were discovered when bankers arrived at Underwood's house to serve a foreclosure notice. When authorities arrived, they noted a 'terribly strong' stench
Bankers serving a foreclosure notice on Underwood's home discovered the dead dogs.
Some of the dogs were said to have been left in their kennels, while others were free to wander around inside the house.
At least a few of the canines cannibalized each other during the eight months that Underwood was gone. Fecal matter and urine was said to be present everywhere.
All that remained of some of the dogs was tufts of fur.
Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter told CBS 7 that inside Underwood's house, 'The stench of the smell was terribly strong.' While walking through the home, he noted, there was no movement in the cages.
'Then you get to looking, lord, there’s carcasses in there. It’s just fur and bones, and the doors are locked, it was very sad,' Painter said.
While walking through the home, authorities saw tufts of fur, feces and urine everywhere
Underwood's former coworker at an animal shelter said that there was no way to recognize which of the dogs was which based on the remains. All that was left was bones and fur
Underwood left her position as a board member at the no-kill Dust Bowl Animal Rescue in Midland last year.
Her former coworker said that she had no idea why Underwood abandoned the dogs — which she believes came from the shelter — to their deaths.
'From the photos that I have seen, they are unrecognizable. There's no way for me to say what dog is which,' Mesha Randolph, President Of Dust Bowl Animal Rescue, told KMID. She also added that 'There was just fur, fur everywhere. That's all you could see.'
Randolph said that leaving the dogs behind was uncharacteristic behavior on Underwood's part.
'I cant even fathom where her mind is at, where her mind went because I knew her personally and that's not the person I knew,' Randolph said, adding that she could not comprehend how someone who 'truly loved animals could do this.'
Painter said that he had never seen an instance of animal cruelty that was this severe before during his years in the Sheriff's Office, particularly since some of the dogs were left locked in their cages with zero chance of escaping.
Painter said that after abandoning her home, Underwood had gone to Nevada to live with her mother and that Underwood's mother herself had informed deputies that Underwood would be flying back to Midland, giving them the opportunity to arrest her when her flight landed on Wednesday.