Weeki Wachee Woman Accused of Animal Cruelty
Deputies found four dead dogs in an abandoned house belonging to her. The dogs had no food or water, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.
HERNANDO COUNTY – A Weeki Wachee woman was arrested after four dead dogs were found in an abandoned home that she owns, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
Lauren Kopp, 35, of Weeki Wachee, was charged with four felony counts of animal cruelty.
Deputies said they were called to a house at 11980 Robina Road in Weeki Wachee on March 6 by a neighbor who said a group of construction workers, who were working in the area, saw what appeared to be a dead dog inside the residence. Deputies said they looked into the house and saw a dead dog lying on the living room floor.
Deputies contacted Kopp, the owner, who said she was renting the house to a friend and did not have keys to get into the house. She denied ownership of the deceased dog.
Deputies said they eventually entered the garage through an unlocked side door. They found the garage floor covered in feces. They went into the laundry room area between the garage and main house where they found two more dead dogs. Upon finding the other dead dogs, deputies left the garage.
They asked Kopp to come to the house. When Kopp arrived, she continued to deny ownership of the dead dogs. Kopp said she had given all her dogs to a shelter in Citrus County before moving. Attempts to contact the renter were unsuccessful. Kopp said she regularly checks the mail at the residence, but she told deputies she could not recall the last time she saw the renter at the house.
While Kopp was speaking to deputies, several neighbors approached telling deputies the deceased dogs did belong to Kopp. Neighbors told deputies that no one had been staying at the house since Kopp left following Hurricane Irma in September.
Deputies returned to the residence March 7, at which time Kopp was able to unlock the home.
In addition to the three deceased dogs located March 6, deputies said they found the remains of a fourth dog. There were feces and urine located throughout the house with no access to food or water for the dogs. All four dogs were in advanced stages of decomposition.
On March 9, investigators contacted Kopp’s former boyfriend of nine years, Michael Oliveira. He indicated Kopp owned four dogs prior to the end of their relationship in 2015. He was able to name and describe all four dogs in detail. Using photographs provided by deputies, Oliveira was able to positively identify three of the deceased dogs as belonging to Kopp.
A warrant was issued Friday (March 9) for Kopp’s arrest. She was taken into custody Saturday (March 10).
Hernando Sheriff | Crime | Animal Cruelty | Arrests | Tampabay News
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