SAN ANTONIO – Mary Oyler won't forget what she was told the day she spotted two Chihuahuas outside a store along Loop 1604 South.
"If you want more, there are 40 back here," Oyler recalls.
When Oyler saw the dogs in the front yard of a small wood frame house near her home, she said her first thought was, "My God, how did this happen? How could this happen?"
Oyler met Richard Ewers, 70, who over the past two years, had been taking in stray dogs that are often dumped in South Bexar County.
"I just can't say 'no,'" Ewers said. "It's hard to see a hungry dog."
Oyler said she later learned "Mr. Richard," as she calls him, is battling stomach cancer.
"Time is of the essence," she said.
Oyler and other volunteers, including Val Sovinski, a retired caseworker, said rescue groups like God's Dogs, as well as the humane society, have taken in litters of puppies.
But she said more rescue groups are needed to take in more of the dogs.
"We can't do this without fosters. I can't stress that enough," Oyler said.
Ewers said living on a very limited fixed income, he couldn't afford to have any of the dogs spayed or neutered.
Oyler, a member of Save Our Strays, said "Mr. Richard" is not a hoarder.
"No, absolutely not," Oyler said. "He didn't have the resources available to him, so they started multiplying."
Oyler said they will vaccinate, spay, neuter and chip the dogs after a fence is reinforced in Ewers' backyard.
Ewers said lately he's had to keep the 27 remaining dogs inside his house, because neighbors started complaining about them being outside and he received several citations he couldn't afford.
"We're doing all we can to help for him, to get him financial assistance, to get him a mode of transportation and help somehow with his medical needs," Oyler said.
Ewers said what he wants most is "a home, a nice home" for each of his dogs.