And the couple struggled to pay bills and provide for their five children.
Mr. Staley, 36, said he didn’t know what else to do.
So unbeknownst to his wife, he hatched a plan to fake a break-in at the store and take the puppies.
He said he brought them to places he felt they would be quickly found and taken to good homes.
“He never went into the woods with those puppies,” Mrs. Staley said.
“He put them in places where he knew people would find them. He even said, ‘Sorry,’ to them as he dropped them off.”
As police investigated, they tracked the global positioning system device on Mr. Staley’s mobile phone and found it had been to several of the places where people reported that they had found puppies.
With that evidence against him, Mr. Staley confessed; he said he offered to help police find the missing dogs.
“I drove in the truck with them and pointed right where they were left,” he said.
“I knew they would be found. If I wanted to, I could have gotten rid of them, and nobody ever would have found them, but I didn’t want to do that.”
“We had to borrow money to buy groceries right before this all happened,” Mrs. Staley said.
Mrs. Staley said that when she found out what her husband did, she was not happy but quick to forgive.
“I was pissed off, but I love my husband, and we have been living this together for five weeks, and I completely understand why he did it.
“And now, all those puppies have good homes,” she added.
As of Monday, 19 of the 24 puppies had been found, but Mrs. Staley believes the missing five are safe as well.
“With all these people out looking for them, they either would have found them alive by now, or if they were dead, they would have found something,” she said.