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Multiple animals rescued after deputies investigate suspected abuse, neglect

Deputies say animal cruelty charges pending based on evidence collected

UNION COUNTY, Fla. – Multiple animals were rescued after the Union County Sheriff's Office said it received a report about the animals suffering various degrees of animal neglect and abuse.

The Sheriff's Office partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in responding Friday to a home off North State Road 121 in the Raiford area to assist in rescuing more than 75 animals, including neglected dogs, cats, small equines and other animals, and providing medical treatment and care, officials said.

The ASPCA assisted the Sheriff's Office with evidence collection, forensic exams, medical care and behavioral enrichment for the animals. Officials said the majority of the animals are being relocated to an emergency shelter operated by the ASPCA at an undisclosed location, while the two equines are being transported to a veterinary hospital for ongoing care.

Investigators with the Sheriff's Office and the ASPCA arrived on the property earlier Friday and served a search warrant. Officials said the animals were discovered living in substandard conditions and exhibiting signs of neglect, with some suffering from various medical issues.

Some dogs and cats were found living in unsanitary kennels with health concerns, deputies said.

"Animal cruelty should not be tolerated anywhere, and the ASPCA is grateful to the Union County Sheriff's Office for pursuing this case and continuing to make animal welfare issues a priority in their community," said Jasmine Holsinger, animal placement manager for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "The animals we rescued today were living in poor conditions where their basic needs were not being met, and we look forward to providing them with much-needed care that will allow them to thrive."

Deputies said animal cruelty charges are pending based on evidence collected by the Sheriff's Office and experts with the ASPCA.

The ASPCA is also providing support to ensure the best legal outcome for the animals, deputies said.

"We have found a great friend and partner with ASPCA," Sheriff Brad Whitehead said. "They are always ready to assist us at no expense to our county in these types of complex animal abuse and neglect cases. We had their team in our county to assist in October 2018 with our horse abuse cases, and it is a pleasure to work beside their team of experts and volunteers. Our county takes any and all animal abuse cases very serious."

The Sheriff's Office is thanking the ASPCA for its on-scene response, along with volunteers from the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Citrus County Animal Services and the San Diego Humane Society.


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