Brooksville, Fla. (970 WFLA)-Sheriff's deputies responded to 22329 Cortez Blvd. in Brooksville (lot # 54), after receiving a request from a citizen to check on the female that lives at that location. When deputies arrived, they found lot # 54 to be completely overgrown with grass and plants. There was an Airstream camper and a 10 foot by 10 foot tent on the lot.
Deputies quickly determined that the female they were sent to check on was living in the tent. The Airstream camper was uninhabitable, as it was overrun with rats and insects. Conditions inside the tent were also deplorable, as there were approximately 18 cats and one parakeet inside.
When deputies entered the tent to check on the resident, Susan Kay, they were immediately overcome by the smell of urine and feces. At this time the deputies observed several cages inside the tent, containing cats. They were unable to locate Susan.
Deputies requested that an Animal Services Officer (ASO) be dispatched to the scene to evaluate the situation and possibly remove the animals. Upon arrival, the ASO advised that based upon her observation of multiple cats living in deplorable conditions, this was a case of animal neglect. The ASO removed all of the animals from Susan's custody. Susan signed a release for all of the animals.
Deputies advised that the cages were made of metal and normally weighed approximately five pounds. Due to the large amount of newspapers and feces inside the cages (some of which was a foot thick), the cages weighed approximately 70 pounds.
One of the animals was living on top of feces that was piled so high that the animal only had approximately 6 inches between the feces and the top of the cage where it could move around.
Some of the cages weighed so much (due to feces) that the animals had to be removed from the cage before transport.
Two of the cats escaped during the transfer process. Additionally, one cat was not caged inside the tent; the ASO was unable to capture it. A cat trap was set in case any of these cats are still in the area or return in the future.
Susan Kay was cited for 18 counts of Animal Neglect.