• Residents demand action after dogs found with wounds at Winter Garden home


    WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - Winter Garden residents packed an Orange County Animal Service advisory board meeting where many went to voice concerns about dogs in a home of a suspected dog-fighting operation.

    The county maintains there is nothing happened at the house.

    Photos: Suspected dog-fighting operation in Orange County

    “Three of the eight dogs had open wounds on their heads. Everything’s listed,” said one of the speakers at the meeting.

    Tensions and tempers rose as nearly 50 people packed the room.

    Many were upset eight dogs are still on the Winter Garden property of two dog owners who have been arrested for animal cruelty.

    Bruceness Tatum and Raymond Williams were arrested on animal cruelty charges after a deputies found signs of dog fighting on the property. One dog had to be euthanized because of the severity of its injuries.

    “Orange County has been out there 12 times in four years; no charges. Twelve times and four years, and now something is being done because of the community outcry? It just doesn’t make sense,” said animal activist Maria Bolton-Joubert.

    County officials said the dogs are not being removed because after making another visit to the property Tuesday, they did not see wounds and conditions detailed in a Sheriff’s Office incident report.

    A Sheriff’s Office report said there was evidence of potential dog fighting at the home.

    “An ideal situation? Absolutely not. But not anything illegal. There are no grounds to remove these animals. It’s unfortunate, but there aren’t,” said Dill Luther of Orange County Animal Services.

    Animal activists won’t accept that answer.

    “The wounds were real; they were there for everybody to see. My biggest concern is these poor animals don’t have a voice. We need to be their voice,” said Jacqueline Randolph.

    Orange County officials said the dogs are with the owner’s sister, who so far, is following guidelines.

    They said they will continue to monitor the dogs.

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