Published: Aug 13, 2010 4:29 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 13, 2010 12:20 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Animal control officers saw feces caked on the floors and walls at Robert Tracey's home when they walked in two years ago.

According to court documents, one of the officers said, "What I saw in there will haunt me for the rest of my life."

"It's nothing that a bath couldn't cure," said Robert Tracey.

He says he'd been taking care of dogs for 20 years. He wanted to take them in, but things got out of hand.

"I figured it was more important to take care of the dogs than to do a lot of house keeping," said Tracey.

Two weeks before he's set to go on trial for animal abuse, Tracey is talking to WINK, saying he doesn't deserve to go to jail.

He says his animals were taken care of.

But court records released today show most of the animals had tick problems, skin issues, and some were so sickly they had to be put to sleep. The county spent more than $17,000 to keep the other dogs alive. Looking at all this for the first time, Tracey admits it spiraled out of control.

"It was dirty because the dogs made it dirty. When you take care of the dogs you don't have the time to do all of it. It was basically two of us," said Tracey.

Charles Sharp lived in the house with Tracey and just spent 6 months in jail for allowing all of this to happen. He sat in the room with us today but wouldn't go on camera. He did say they just wanted to help the animals.

"I miss them. Badly. The dogs were my best friends," said Tracey.