FORT WORTH — For days, Melissa Woodard and Chris Apala said, they tried feeding their puppies spinach, bean sprouts and small portions of dog food.The five miniature pinscher mixes wouldn’t eat.The couple said Tuesday that they asked their families and neighbors for help with money and food but got none.“I loved them, but we had no food for them. We barely had food for ourselves,” Woodard said. “They were starving to death.”So on Saturday morning, Apala said, he took three of the puppies that were in the worst shape, killed them by hitting them over their heads and burned them in a barrel.“It was the only humane thing to do,” Apala said Tuesday.Now Woodard and Apala face animal-cruelty charges after Tarrant County deputies found the dead puppies Saturday afternoon at their home in northwest Tarrant County.In an interview Tuesday morning from the Tarrant County Jail, Woodard, 38, denied that she killed the puppies.“I didn’t do anything to them,” Woodard said.Woodard admitted that she told a girl in the neighborhood that “I burned them.” But she said the comment came in a fit of anger.“That was stupid of me to say that,” she said.Woodard said she and her boyfriend were jobless and had no vehicle to take the puppies to an animal shelter. Five puppies were at the house, along with three adult dogs.In a separate jailhouse interview Tuesday morning, Apala, 33, said he had found the puppies suffering Saturday morning and decided to kill them.“I hit each one time in the head with a stick. I put them all together in a sheet,” Apala said. “And I then put them in the barrel and burned them.”Apala and Woodard said that they had smoked marijuana and taken methamphetamine before Saturday but that they were not high that day.“I can’t believe I’m being charged with this,” Apala said Tuesday. “I can’t sleep at night because of all this, but there was nothing else we could do.”Deputies received a 911 call Saturday afternoon from Woodard’s sister, saying she had found the puppies in the barrel in the 7300 block of Cottonwood Creek Road. Melissa Woodard is listed as the homeowner, according to Tarrant County records.Apala said Tuesday that the couple had been living at the home for six months.Deputies found the puppies dead in the barrel. It was unclear Tuesday what happened to the two surviving puppies and the three other dogs.Apala said he had never done anything like that before.“As soon as I get out of jail, I want to go find my puppy,” Apala said. “I love animals, but I know I did the right thing.”Woodard remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Tuesday with bail set at $15,000. Apala was also in jail, with the same bail.
Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr