Animal Sanctuary Owner Faces 36 Charges of Cruelty/Neglect
The charges arise from her failure to care for dogs but other animals, including horses, pigs, cats and chickens were also removed from her care, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
HERNANDO COUNTY – A Weeki Wachee animal sanctuary owner is facing 36 counts of animal cruelt/neglect in connection with the care of dogs, mostly shepherds, that were found on the property, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.
Lori Giles Watts, 51, is charged with 36 counts of animal cruelty/neglect.
Deputies said an HCSO animal enforcement officer went to the sanctuary on Kildeer Road in Weeki Wachee on May 13 to conduct an annual kennel inspection. During the kennel check, AEO Linda Christian noted several violations including inadequate shelter, water and physical care for the 36 dogs, mostly shepherds, found on the property.
Several of the dogs had injuries to their ears that required veterinary treatment. Other dogs were secured in pens that were too small, had limited access to food and drinking water, and were filled with a combination of mud, feces and urine.
Christian gave Watts 48 hours to fix the violations, in addition to having all the dogs seen by a veterinarian.
A local veterinarian went to the sanctuary on May 14 and determined several of the dogs were suffering from minor ailments that could have been treated. The veterinarian determined, because of the lack of treatment, that Watts had contributed to the neglect of the dogs.
Christian returned May 16 to conduct a follow-up inspection.
Christian determined Watts had not made satisfactory progress in addressing issues concerning the kennels. She noted many of the kennels still contained feces covered by dirt, rather than being removed.
In addition to checking on the well being of the dogs, Christian also checked on the well being of 46 equine (horses, mules and minis), three pigs, six cats and a flock of roosters and chickens also found on the property. Christian noted those animals were found in better condition than the dogs, but she still had concerns for their health.
Deputies said they removed the dogs from the sanctuary and took them to Hernando Animal Services.
During a fitness petition hearing, County Judge Kurt Hitzemann ordered that all the animals be removed from Watts’ property and turned over to Hernando County.
On Friday (May 25), the remaining animals were removed from Watts’ property and taken to the Hernando County Fairgrounds in Brooksville where various animal rescues are helping to care for them.
Once all the animals have been treated and evaluated, the plan is to put them up for adoption.
Anyone wishing to make donations to help support the care of the animals may contact Hernando County Animal Services at (352) 796-5062.
Hernando Sheriff | Crime | Animal Neglect | Arrests | Tampabay News
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