A woman has been charged with neglect and 12 counts of animal cruelty after a small child was found in a home full of various animals, including 300 rats running freely. Some of the animals were in cages while others had “infested” the house which was strewn with rubbish, dirty dishes and rotten food.
“The conditions of this residence and the animals in this case were so bad, sheriff’s office personnel were cautioned about making entry,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. “Neither children nor animals should ever endure this type of environment.”
The Sheriff’s Office said officers were responding to an animal cruelty complaint which led to the arrest of 38-year-old Shannon Marie Morgan.
When officers entered the Florida residence, they were met with an overwhelming smell of ammonia. Inside, they found cages which housed various snakes, rodents and a dog.
They also saw cats and rats running freely around the home, noting that it was “blatantly obvious” the animals were “deprived of all basic necessities”.
Officers entered a bedroom to find a ferret and a dog in two small cages. When they entered a second bedroom, they discovered a juvenile surrounded by rubbish.
“Entering the second bedroom, occupied by a juvenile, the trash was built up all over the floor, where even the mattress was covered in roaches,” a report from the Sheriff’s Office said.
It added: “Blood was also observed on the floor created by one of the loose cats eating a rat.”
They said that the build up of urine and faecal matter in the home had caused the infestation of roaches, flies and other insects.
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Officers released video footage of the home which showed numerous rats in cramped cages, as well as darting across the floor. The rodents appeared to have chewed through a wall.
Morgan was charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty and one count of child neglect. Her bond was set at $26,000.
Animal control officers removed removed seven cats, one dog and one ferret from the home.
The house was secured for further investigation which would include the removal of the other animals.