CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Disclaimer: Some may find the details included in this story graphic in nature. Discretion advised.
Clay County has filed a civil petition to take possession of the more than 200 animals that were found living on a property in what the sheriff called deplorable conditions.
According to the petition, the living conditions for the animals found at the property on Old Jennings Road “included piles of vermin harboring detritus throughout the home, rat feces on bare wood floors where the carpet was removed, cage floors with just bare wire piled high with old dried feces, insects flying around the living room and kitchen directly adjacent to stacks of cages, fecal matter on the floors throughout the home, and the smell of ammonia from urine and feces throughout the home.”
Furthermore, the petition states, the “vast majority of the animals had little to no access to clean food or water, and could not escape their urine and fecal contaminated housing.” It states that there were skeletal remains of “various species” found on the property, and that the animals taken from the property had numerous health concerns.
An investigation of the owner is ongoing, but because it’s unclear whether the owner is facing criminal charges, News4Jax has omitted her name from this story.
The petition states that 266 animals were removed from the property, including 104 dogs, 28 pigs, 44 rabbits, 72, chickens, six goats, two turtles, six pigeons, one duck, two quail and one goose.
Additionally, the petition states, two litters of puppies were delivered after the animals were removed from the property, bringing the total numbers of animals in custody of the County’s Animal Services Division to 274.
Investigators said five children were removed from the home weeks ago when an investigation info suspect animal cruelty and neglect began. A neighbor, who News4Jax is not identifying, was granted temporary custody of the children while their guardian remains under investigation.
“The children are really healthy. They were not abused. They were living in bad conditions,” that neighbor said. “The gentleman that lived there passed way with COVID and her was a friend of mine and I’ve known him for 25 years. That’s why I told them I would take the kids because I’ve known them all their life and I could not stand for them to go to foster care after losing their father.”
The neighbor is asking for the public to donate clothing and food for the children. Doctor’s Inlet Church of God is accepting donations on behalf of the children he is now caring for. It’s located at 144 Old Jennings Road, and the phone number for the church is 904-272-0919.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said the owner could face serious criminal charges once the investigation is complete.
The county, the petition states, is seeking an award for costs incurred while providing care for the animals, which includes veterinary care, food, medicine and boarding.
Interested in donating to CCAS to help with the recent intake of animals? Please bring donations, starting tomorrow, to the Clay County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Bldg 3, 10am-4:30pm or visit our Amazon Wishlist @ https://t.co/10olAi6zju— Clay County EM (@ClayCounty_EM) October 11, 2021
*All items being donated must be new pic.twitter.com/aWpFwylOv0