Hernando County, Florida -- Nearly 40 cats had to be euthanized Tuesday after they were found, along with other animals, in a U-Haul truck abandoned in the parking lot of a Spring Hill Publix.
Hernando Sheriff's deputies were called out to investigate and when they arrived, along with Pasco County Code Enforcement officials and Animal Services officers, they reported they could hear the animals "screaming" inside.
When they opened the door, 50 cats and three dogs were found inside the "extremely hot" truck and stored inside plastic containers similar to Tupperware containers.
The driver of the U-Haul was not around, but an investigation revealed it had been driven to Publix by 50-year-old Frances Terry Evans.
Pasco County officials say they have an ongoing case with Evans regarding animal hoarding. They believe she took the animals there and left them as she was court ordered to turn them over to Pasco County officials by Tuesday.
Hernando County Animal Services Managing Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Centonze and her staff worked late into the day to evaluate all 50 cats and determined they all had health conditions ranging from flea and ear mite infestations, ocular discharge and signs of respiratory infections. Most were not well socialized.
Unfortunately, due to the severity of the health problems and concerns of spreading infection to the rest of the shelter animals, 39 cats were humanely euthanized.
The dogs are currently in pens and will be evaluated Wednesday afternoon. One is a black Labrador Retriever, one a geriatric chocolate Labrador Retriever and the third appears to be a dark brown/black Chow mix.
Evans has been issued a citation for 53 counts of animal abandonment and is facing at total of $26,500 in fines. The State Attorney's Office has also issued a warrant for 53 counts of animal cruelty with a total bond of $26,500.
Pasco deputies took Evans into custody shortly before noon on Wednesday.
You may also like...
Teen Sex: Online support grows 18-year-old girl who had same-sex relationship with 15-year-old
Prostitute Roundup: 92 arrested in online sex sting
Cannonball: Men who jumped on top of manatees may face charges
Investigation: Florida shortens yellow lights to cause more red light tickets
Attractive Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight
Crime-Fighting Gator: Man flees cops, attacked by alligator
Homebrew Soda: Man claims to find Coca-Cola recipe, sells it on eBay
Watch this, Brother: Hulk Hogan does the weather at 10 News!
Record-breaker: 18-foot python caught in Florida!
Dwinking and Dwiving: Barbara Walters' daughter arrested for DUI
PHOTOS: Bikini bike wash!
Happy Reunion: Kidnapped kids taken to Cuba back with grandparents
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Sex tape scandal: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns
Neigh! Video shows man brutalizing, having sex with horse
Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*
Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
APP-tastic: Download the 10 News app for your iPad
Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Nip/tuck: Hooters tries surviving middle age with a makeover
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen
Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers: What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots
Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries