More than 100 animals have been rescued, and two people have been arrested after an animal cruelty investigation into a neglected hound revealed abuse of dozens of other pets.
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said they began investigating the case in the city of Inverness, in the US state of Florida on 31st July.
Animal Control Officers (ACO) and Community Crimes Detectives conducted the ‘Operation Rescue Thor’ and found the seven-year-old German Shepherd named as Thor neglected.
They said his owners refused to provide him with medical care, although he was suffering from a severe ear infection and hip issues.
CCSO said in a statement obtained by Newslfash on Monday, 4th December: “The residents of this address, 66-year-old Faustino Alfredo Valladares and 46-year-old Patricia Maria Villadamigo were alleged to have over 16 dogs and 40 chickens and turkeys on their .22-acre lot, with all the animals suffering from neglect.
“Throughout a four-month investigation, ACOs worked diligently to check on the well-being of the animals and investigate the allegations despite Valladares and Villadamigo’s minimal cooperation.
“All dogs in their possession were found to be without current vaccinations, and they did not have a kennel license, which is mandated by county ordinance with ownership of ten or more dogs.”
Officials obtained a search warrant which allowed them to rescue Thor and take him for proper treatment.
The statement also said: “During the execution of the search warrant, 18 dogs, 11 puppies, and 73 varying species of fowl, one of which was deceased, were located on the property.
“Partners with Citrus County Animal Services responded with deputies to assess the animals on-site, alongside Citrus County Code Enforcement.”
All the animals have been taken to Citrus County Animal Services, the officials said.
Patricia Maria Villadamigo was charged with felony animal cruelty, resisting arrest without violence, and obstruction of a search warrant.
Faustino Alfredo Valladares was charged with felony animal cruelty.
Sheriff Mike Prendergast said: “Our ACOs work tirelessly to help defend innocent animals, such as Thor, whom irresponsible owners mistreat. It is sickening to see how Villadamigo and Valladares had such disregard for taking care of their animals.
“I am proud of the quick investigative work of both our ACOs and Community Crimes Detectives, as well as our partnership with Citrus County Animal Services for their assistance in saving these helpless animals.”
William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney said: “Last week, Sheriff Mike Prendergast and his team took decisive action to rescue innocent animals from continuous, unimaginable harm.
“We will work together to ensure justice prevails in this case and to show compassion triumphs cruelty every time.”