Anchorage, Alaska—On Saturday, Frank Rich, the Willow man who faces more than 50 counts of animal cruelty, spoke out about what led to more than 150 dogs being seized from his property. Rich says he struggled to feed the dogs but did not ask animal control for help because he was afraid the dogs would be euthanized. He says he misses the dogs that were taken and says they were like family to him.
Rich was expected to change his plea on Wednesday but changed his mind. He says it's because he found out that the prosecutor was going to call in witnesses, and he claims he was also bothered by the chance of getting ten years of probation, unable to own an animal during that time. His decision shocked a courtroom full of animal rights advocates.
The rescue took in all of the puppies, and dozens of the dogs that were in Rich's care, trying to find them homes. The rescue says Rich could have asked for help feeding them if he was not able to on his own, and Rich says if he had known how everything was going to turn out, he would have taken them in to animal control.
"I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I didn't want to see my dogs put to death," says Rich.
Rich says he has been presented a second plea deal and has until the middle of next week to decide whether or not to accept it. If he chooses not to, he says he will face felony charges.