STARKE, Fla. - After 22 dogs, 10 cats and a rabbit were found in bad shape in a Bradford County home, a 65-year-old woman was arrested on 11 felony cruelty to animal charges.
Deputies from the Bradford County Animal Control Unit responded to Jeanette Hars' home in the Lost Valley Camp Ground in Starke.
They said the issue first came to light a couple of weeks ago when deputies were in the area placing a sexual predator warning sign. Since that time, Hars has been under investigation for improper care of numerous animals, deputies said.
The supervisor overseeing the Animal Control Unit, Capt. Carol Starling, recently removed 11 dogs, 10 cats and a rabbit from the same location and warned Hars (pictured, right) that proper care and treatment needed to be in compliance with Florida statutes, deputies said.
They said a follow-up visit conducted Thursday afternoon revealed 11 dogs not receiving proper care. Those dogs were also removed, totaling 22 dogs in all.
Investigators said some of the animals appeared to be in bad shape, with sores on their skinny bodies.
"The floor was covered in feces, the bed in which she slept was covered in feces and urine. The smell alone just made you want to vomit," said Danielle Leland, Hars' daughter.
"The animals were in different areas around the house, in a storage shed, inside the house, inside a camper," said Capt. Brad Smith, of the Bradford County Sheriff's Office. "This was a long process that took place over a couple of weeks, and she was being educated on what the proper ways to care for these animals would be."
Hars was arrested and booked into the Bradford County jail with bail set at $11,000.
Leland, who said she considers Hars her mother, said Hars had no bad intentions and did her best to care for the animals but got overwhelmed and into a very bad situation.
"I'm sad to see her in jail, but I'm glad, glad for the animals that they're going to be able to get the help they need and the love that they so much deserve," Leland said.
Animal Control workers say their goal is to be able to put all the animals up for adoption. They said veterinarians were checking them over, but it's still unclear if they'll be able to make enough of a recovery to be adopted out.
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