By Ken Heineck
While getting a look at new pens set up for twelve dogs on Walton Furnace Road, we saw first-hand why safety concerns are the main reason the Laura Donahue, Virginia Director for the Humane Society of the United States is holding off on her visit to Wythe County.
"You think you're a big bad boy...come on over here, come on," shouted Mike Thomas, the man who owns the dogs.
As I was recording video from across the street for this follow up, Thomas threatened to harm me. I called deputies to be safe.
Donahue's visit has also been put on hold because Thomas will not allow an independent vet to look at his animals.
In an email to county leaders, she says, "I and the community would feel more assured if an independent veterinarian evaluated the living conditions as well as the animals."
Jenna Coleman, Wythe County spokeswoman, says the dogs did see a vet earlier this week and that three of them were flea-dipped.
We could not confirm who regularly cares for the dogs because of veterinary privacy laws.
So while we did get our first, in-person glimpse of Thomas' dogs, at this point the U.S. Humane Society will not have the chance to look at where the dogs call home any time soon.