Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers and Agricultural Crimes deputies arrested a husband and wife today, Thursday, May 27, 2010 - Charles “Chuck” O’Malley and Diane O’Malley, of 15195 Angus Road in Polk City - and charged them both with 261 counts each Animal Cruelty, after investigation revealed they were neglecting dogs they had in their home and on their property, also known as Mid-Florida Retriever Rescue, Inc. The dogs are malnourished, infested with fleas and parasites, and in very poor health.
The investigation began around 1:35 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, when PCSO Animal Control received an anonymous tip that Mid-Florida Retriever Rescue, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization located at 15195 Angus Road in Polk City, had approximately 100 dogs that were being neglected.
According to the affidavit, an Animal Control supervisor responded to the scene and noted there was not enough food or water present for the number of dogs she located on-scene. She then requested to see each of the dogs to ensure they were healthy. At first the O’Malleys were cooperative and brought out 117 dogs, one-by-one, to be seen by Animal Control Officers and Agricultural Crimes deputies. However, as the evening approached, the O’Malleys ceased cooperating with Animal Control, and deputies had to serve a search warrant to remove the rest of the neglected dogs from their home. By 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 27th, all 261 dogs were seized and brought to Animal Control to be treated and catalogued as evidence in the case.
According to the affidavit, there were dogs in every room of the house, to include closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, the kitchen, porches, etc. Bare concrete floors of the home were visible and the odor of urine and feces was so strong, deputies had to wear gas masks while removing the dogs.
Several of the dogs showed signs of aggressive behavior – two deputies were bitten by dogs during this investigation.
Dr. Joe Ertel, DVM, PCSO Animal Control veterinarian, is still examining all of the dogs, assisted by local veterinarians who responded to Animal Control to help. So far, of the dogs he has examined, nearly 100% of them are flea-infested, have parasites (such as hookworm), are malnourished, and have tartar build-up on their teeth.
Of the 261 dogs seized, which are of various breeds, 35 of them are puppies. Some of the breeds noted are: Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Lab mixes, Great Danes, Cattle Dogs, Sharpei, Dalmations, Shepherd mixes, Bulldog, Belgian Malinois. Several of the dogs have not been neutered or spayed, which is against rescue organization policy.
The website for this rescue organization is www.mid-floridaretrieverrescue.org.
“These animals have been neglected, mistreated, and were living in deplorable conditions not even fit for humans,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The irony of it is, the O’Malleys state on their website that they do home visits to ensure you have adequate living conditions before they’ll adopt one of their dogs to you.”
If you want to help, please adopt one of our already-healthy animals from PCSO Animal Control, so that we can focus on caring for the recently seized dogs. PCSO Animal Control always has spayed, neutered, and healthy pets up for adoption. Help us make room for these seized animals – adopt a healthy dog or cat today.