Marshall's Carolyn Root made one of her first public appearances on the Today show Friday morning to speak about her experiences and strains as a recovering animal hoarder.
"We would spend $350 a week on dry dog food," Root told Today show host Meredith Vieira.
The financial strain of taking care of more than 80 dogs sometimes reached up to $20,000 per year.
"I figure I spent $200,000 feeding dogs. It's starting to mess with my head," said Ronnie Root in a clip of the Animal Planet show shown on the Today Show.
"I guess I just kind of overlooked (the financial strains) because it wasn't an issue," Carolyn said. "We would get behind on our bills every month but it wasn't an issue. Feeding the dogs was an issue."
At one point, Carolyn said she would rather give up one of her kids than one of her dogs.
Tim Root said it reached a point where he stopped talking to his parents.
"Physically, financially, emotionally it was taking a toll," said Tim Root. "It was something I would not support any more.
Carolyn is now a recovering animal hoarder. While the Animal Planet television show, Confessions: Animal Hoarding, was shooting in Marshall, Carolyn chose to allow the Humane Society of Missouri to take 71 dogs and place them for adoption.
Carolyn told Vieira that the issue started for her while volunteering at the animal shelter.
"This started 16 years ago. I would volunteer for the shelter and I was the only one volunteering at the shelter. Everyday I would go in and there would be dogs missing," Carolyn said.
"Because they had been euthanized?" Vieira asked.
"Yes, And I got to the point when people would bring them to the door .... I would put them in my jeep and take them home."
All of the dogs except for 11 have been adopted. Two of the dogs still live with her and nine do not.
As for the strains of recovering, Carolyn said, "It's hard. I know that there are animals out there being abused day after day and I guess I tried to save all I could. I think hoarding is a harsh word. I would prefer maybe saving. I love them babies. I love them."
The episode featuring Carolyn's struggle is scheduled for broadcast Feb. 4.
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