50 animals living in terrible conditions in Hernando home

Hernando County, Florida -- Deputies responding to a complaint regarding "several dogs continuously barking" at a home in Spring Hill found 47 dogs living in terrible conditions.

Hernando County Sheriff's Office responded to the home on Landfair Street and upon arrival they could hear numerous dogs barking inside the residence. As he approached the home, Deputy Varrichio detected a very strong odor of animal urine and feces.

When he knocked at the door Naoma Britten answered. Britten said she is a non-profit "rescue" and she pulls animals from Animal Control and other rescue groups. Britten gave deputies permission to check the animals and stated that she is not able to clean up after them as she does not feel well.

Deputy Varrichio observed numerous animals in the home and deplorable living conditions and requested Animal Services.

When Animal Service Officer Brenda Rodgers and Deputy Varrichio entered the property to check the animals, they were met with trash, high grass, old carpet, dishes, dirty animal carriers, containers full of stagnant water, and piles of animal feces.

They went to an enclosed garage where they found metal crates stacked on top of one another, filled with dogs. The crates were stacked on top of each other with one dog in each crate and the crates were not large enough for the dogs that were in them. They were also full of feces and had obviously not been cleaned in months. There was no water in the crates for the dogs. Some crates had a piece of carpet or newspaper, others had nothing and the dogs were sleeping on metal bars.

There were similar living situations throughout the home as well as outside. Most of the crates were not big enough for the dog to turn around.

On the other side of the garage were three cats in a large cat tower with three shelves. The cats had no place to walk; the entire bottom was full of urine and feces.

In Britten's bedroom there were seven dogs running loose. On the floor were clothes and belongings with urine and feces on them. Britten slept in a bed in this room, surrounded by baby gates.

There were a total of 47 dogs and three cats on the property.

ASO Rodgers preliminary estimated the conditions of the animals as follows: advanced age, underweight, fleas, skin conditions, deformed feet, burned pads on feet, blind, hair growing over eyes, long nails, matted fur.

Britten immediately signed over ownership of 21 dogs to Hernando County Animal Services.

Britten has been given until June 25 to place the other 26 dogs and three cats with rescue groups and/or friends. If the animals have not been relocated by that date, they will be picked up and transported to Hernando County Animal Services.

The investigation continues. Citations and a court date will be issued once veterinary examinations are complete.


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