Many of the dogs seized last year in what authorities described as a "dungeon" in Lithia will be available for adoption Friday.
Two Lithia residents, Ian Roth and Christie Roth, were charged with animal cruelty and confinement of animals without food and water after investigators removed dozens of animals from their home. A judge today sentenced them to 18 months' probation and told them they can't sell dogs for five years, Hillsborough County Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan said.
The animals have been signed over to animal services' care.
"They're no longer being held hostage by the legal system in any way," Ryan said. "So now we celebrate."
About 25 dogs will be available 10 a.m. Friday at animal services' office, 440 N. Falkenburg Road. The dogs available for adoption include Havanese and Shih Tzu. Another wave of adoptions will come at another time, Ryan said.
Priority will be given to Hillsborough County residents.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay also will make some of the seized dogs and cats available for adoption Friday, Ryan said.
Four dead dogs were found by animal services when authorities went to remove animals from the Lithia property Dec. 10 after an anonymous tipster said the creatures were living in deplorable conditions. Authorities said the home was used for an animal-breeding business.
Seventy-eight dogs, five cats and several exotic birds were found at 1306 Pelote Cemetery Road, Ryan said. One of the dead dogs discovered was possibly pregnant, Ryan said.
The animal breeders lived in the main house, while most of the animals were in another house, Ryan said.
The dogs were taken to Animal Services, where veterinarians did preliminary exams. Some had tumors, dehydration, dental disease and other infections, Ryan said.