Deputies and officers with the animal control responded to a home in Inverness earlier this month to investigate a possible animal cruelty case, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
Animal control officers said they immediately noticed a strong smell of animal waste and ammonia from outside the home before speaking with 23-year-old Chelsea St. Hilaire.
St. Hilaire reportedly told officers there were three dogs living on the enclosed patio of the home as well as three more living inside.
Authorities entered the residence and found “multiple piles of garbage bags mixed with animal feces and urine inside the bathroom,” the sheriff’s office said.
Inside the bedroom, officers found soiled diapers and empty liquor bottles, and in the kitchen, they found dirty dishes and buckets with mold growing, authorities said.
Deputies said the floor was “spongy and caked with feces” throughout the entire home and they saw multiple holes in the ceiling. Officers also found two children inside the home, including one crawling on the floor.
There were reportedly cats throughout the house who had access to the outside through the home’s window, officials said. They also found a seventh dog in the home who the suspects did not disclose.
Robert Brooks and Tina Maddox, along with St, Hilaire, allegedly failed to provide adequate food for the animals, and there were no sources of water available for them. Many of the dogs had fleas, which caused patches of fur to fall out.
In a statement, Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said, “The condition of this home was so disgusting that deputies and ACOs could not take a single step without their boot touching feces, urine, or both."
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Authorities said the two children were removed from the home, and the Citrus County Animal Shelter will take care of the dogs and cats. According to WTSP-TV, six of the seven dogs have either been adopted or fostered as of Jan. 25.
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