COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – An investigation into a neighbor’s complaint involving neglected dogs leads to a gruesome discovery and the arrest of a 32-year-old woman.
According to the Columbia County arrest report, a deputy dispatched to a home of Lynn Leann Carroll on NW Pillsbury Drive on Jan. 2 to meet an animal control officer who was following up a previous report of neglect of dogs.
The complaint came from a neighbor who said one of Carroll’s dogs had broken free from a tight tether around its neck and a makeshift pen, came onto her property and started rummaging through her garbage for food. The deputy noted the animal had a large cut on its neck and appeared to be severely emaciated and ill.
“She was skin and bones -- emaciated look. She also had injuries to her neck area like she had been abused," neighbor Shannon Russell told News4Jax on Monday. “I heard her all the time over there crying late at night and it was upsetting.”
The neighbor’s complaint also requested that animal control checked on the other dogs owned by Carroll.
According to that original complaint, other dogs had been left tied up outside in the cold overnight while Carroll and her children were inside the home. The dog that was found on the neighbor’s property was taken into custody by the animal control officer because it required immediate medical attention. According to the report, the animal had a microchip that was registered to Carroll.
The animal control officer told the deputy that when she and another officer knocked on the door to speak with Carroll, they picked up on a foul smell that was coming from around the home. When they went to the back of the yard, they saw buzzards flying out from underneath a shed. As they got closer, the discovered a deceased dog inside a pen with feces all over the pen floor. There was no food or water inside the pen.
The officer also told the deputy that when they went to the back porch, they located a deceased dog wrapped inside a garbage bag and a strong odor was coming from that bag as well.
After hearing about what the animal control officers discovered, the deputy joined them in searching the rest of the outside area including other pens and sheds to make sure there were no other injured or deceased animals on the property, but as they were checking underneath the home, they picked up on a foul smell coming from inside the house. The deputy entered the home through an unlocked door to make sure there were no deceased animals or people inside. There were no animals or people inside.
The dog that was found deceased in the bag was loaded onto a truck to be taken to a University of Florida lab to determine the cause of death. The dog that was found deceased inside the pen could not be transported to a lab because the buzzards had eaten most of it. Investigators learned both deceased dogs had been microchipped and the chip information came back to Carroll.
The report noted that Carroll eventually contacted the animal shelter and told one of the shelter employees that she had been recently evicted from her home and had one more load to get before she was completely out. She reportedly told the employee that she knew the dogs were sick but had small children she needed to take care of. She went on to explain to the shelter employee that the dogs had been dead for more than a month and that she buried them all in the yard.
According to the report, Carroll admitted to burying six dogs in the yard and could show investigators where the animal’s bodies were located.
Carroll was arrested in January on a felony charge of animal abuse. She posted bond, but she was re-arrested Saturday on a warrant but has bonded out again.
Due to the circumstances involving the animals and the condition of the home combined with the fact that Carroll had small children living in the home, the deputy notified the Department of Children and Families.