A Highlands County woman was charged with 72 counts of animal cruelty after deputies found 49 live animals and more than 20 dead animals in her home.
Highlands County deputies said Jinece Elizabeth Loughry, 66, had 42 dogs, eight cats and one bird taken from the home.
There were also 23 dead animals found in her home with some in such advanced stages of decomposition deputies couldn’t tell if they were cats or dogs, according to law enforcement.
Investigators said most many of the animals were confined to crates that were stacked at least three high in the living room.
Deputies said the home had no running water and was infested with roaches and rats.
Law enforcement said they hadn’t had any complaints about the home until a tip came in on Thursday.
“There is no excuse for animals to be abused like this,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “Our Animal Services, which is a division of the sheriff’s office, inspects all four registered animal rescues in our county -- including the Humane Society -- on a quarterly basis, but we need to be able to go even further. I will be reaching out to the county commission as soon as possible to discuss a county ordinance that would require anyone operating a rescue or serving as a foster home for animals as part of a rescue -- even as a volunteer -- to register with Animal Services so they can be monitored and inspected on a regular basis. We need to make sure something like this horrible tragedy never happens again in our county.”
Deputies said it took them more than an hour to remove just the living animals.
Loughry's bond was set at $72,000.
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