Neighbors expressed shock at the discovery of 28 animals found abandoned inside a home Wednesday night by Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
About 6:30 p.m., deputies were called to 1011 Hiawatha Place when a neighbor was told by an Aaron’s furniture store employee he saw “corpse flies” in the window of the home.
He told the neighbor he was there to repossess furniture rented from the company, which leases furniture, appliances and electronics.
Once inside, deputies found numerous animals left unattended and animal feces throughout the home. No dead animals were found.
Kevin Mallory, interim director of Pasco County Animal Services, said 28 animals were found in the home, including eight dogs, seven rabbits, four cats, four turtles, two snakes, two lizards and one ferret.
Animal cruelty charges have been forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office on the woman who lived at the house, Alicia Nelson, 25, according to the sheriff’s office. She has not been arrested. Neighbors say she has lived there only about four months.
The animals are being held at the animal service’s Land O’ Lakes facility.
“Basically we have to wait until it is decided as to if the pet owner gets the animals back or if they’re going to become property of Pasco County Animal Services,” Mallory said. “In the meantime, we’ll have to provide care for them.”
A woman and two men were at the home Thursday morning. They would not identify themselves to reporters, but the woman said they were working for an insurance company. When the woman emerged from the house, she described the interior as “totally covered in feces.”
Frankie Rodriguez, who is moving into a home across the street, called authorities after the Aaron’s truck driver told her about the flies and the odor coming from the house.
“One officer, I guess when they got to the door it was really stinky cause … he took a deep breath and goes, ‘I’m goin’ in,’” Rodriguez said, frowning and leaning back, mimicking the officer’s reaction.
“The door was open and the next thing you know all these dogs come pouring out. Puppies who look like they haven’t eaten. Their ribs were all showing and it looked like you could put your hand around their little bellies,” she said. “That just tears me up because I have three little dogs.”