A Central Florida woman was arrested Wednesday after authorities discovered dozens of animals living in deplorable conditions at her Altamonte Springs home.
According to a police report from the Altamonte Springs Police Department, officers met with representatives from the Seminole County Animal Services to do an animal welfare check.
As soon as they parked the patrol car outside the house, the deputies said they could smell the “pungent odor of urine and feces” from the road, they wrote in the charging document.
The 36-year-old homeowner came outside and said she had six dogs, three cats and two birds in the home.
Once inside, officers observed feces on the ground and the “pungent odor grew stronger.” In the living room, they noted “multiple, emaciated dogs in cages,” without food or water in their bowls. They also saw “cockroaches all over the floor and spider webs in the light fixtures.”
The suspect said she did not want to let the crew into the back room where she kept the birds because it was “disorganized and cluttered with her ex-husband‘s belongings.”
When officials from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived, the woman brought the birds out for observation. Each cage was filled with “roaches and feces,” says the report.
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At some point during the visit, officers heard dogs barking in the back yard, where more “malnourished” dogs were in cages.
The woman opened the door to a shed that had a “strong odor” of death, as well as bones on the ground. The defendant explained the skeleton was from a German Shepherd that she had received from a shelter in bad health and after the dog died, she wasn’t able to lift the remains to dispose of them.
When asked what was inside several black garbage bags, the woman explained they were full of clothes from a church where she volunteered. But when they opened the bags, they contained decomposed dogs, kittens and cats, said the report.
The woman was arrested on five counts of animal cruelty, with additional charges pending. She is being held in the Seminole County jail on $10,000 bail.
More than 40 animals were recovered alive from the property are in the care of Seminole County Animal Services.
“These animals cannot be put up for adoption yet but so many others are available to take home right now,” the agency said on Facebook. “By adopting one of the many dogs or cats who have been in residence at the shelter for days and weeks, space and care is freed up for our new animals.”
The number to call to adopt is 407-665-5201.