Updated Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM
An arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of dumping emaciated puppies in the woods near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Christopher Merrick has been charged with animal cruelty. KOMO-TV ( http://is.gd/3qRsTC) reports he failed to appear in court on Friday.
Investigators say the animals' ribs were protruding and their paws were swollen to twice the size. Some were bleeding and others had their eyes swollen shut.
But the accused man's mother says they tried to care for the dogs. Lori Merrick says that after their dog had a litter of nine, her son tried to drop them off at the Humane Society. Court documents show he didn't leave the dogs because he found out that there was a fee.
But officials at the Tacoma Humane Society say they try to work with owners when they can't afford the fee in order to prevent dumping.
Information from: KOMO-TV, http://www.komotv.com/