OCALA, Fla. - A young child and 55 dogs were found living in deplorable conditions in an Ocala home, police said.
Officers responded to the home on NE 12th Avenue on Wednesday when someone reported a strong odor coming that they believed may have been from a dead body.
A woman who answered the door said her father, who has dementia, was being properly cared for.
She wouldn’t allow the officers to come inside.
Police asked her how many animals were in the home and she said there were 15 dogs that were about to be moved to a kennel.
Police said they did not see a child during the initial visit.
Officers called code enforcement officials, who noticed urine seeping out from under a side door during their inspection.
Animal Services, the Department of Children and Families and police were able to then get inside the home where they found the child and 55 dogs living in deplorable conditions.
The elderly man was medically cleared and the child was placed in the care of a relative.
The dogs were treated by a veterinarian, but officials said the animals are in bad shape.
The dogs have severely matted fur, many have urine scalding, discharge in their eyes, extremely long nails, tooth loss and some are malnourished.
The woman told Channel 9 she got overwhelmed.
“I came from Brooksville because of the hurricane. I lost my home. FEMA won’t help,” she said.
She said she only planned to be in that home for a few daysm but now isn’t sure when she can return.
“I lost their kennel and I lost the house,” she said. “The roof of the kennel was gone, so I’m starting over again. I didn’t realize it was going to be that bad. I thought I could keep up with it. I guess I couldn’t.”
Marion County will file a petition for custody of the dogs, which will not be eligible for adoption until approved by the court.
Police did not say if anyone will face charges.
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