SPRING HILL — A woman who recently had dozens of animals removed from her home by Hernando County Animal Services faces fines of roughly $16,000 for mistreatment of animals, the sheriff’s office said.
Naoma Britten, of 12287 Landfair Street, was issued 11 citations for 34 cases of animal mistreatment, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Denise Moloney. One citation can cover up to four animals, she said.
On June 18, a Hernando sheriff’s deputy and an animal services officer responded to complaints of loud barking form Britten’s house, where they found about 50 dogs and several cats, many of them piled into rusting metal crates strewn with waste.
All of the animals were removed from Britten’s house by the following day.
Investigators reported that many of the animals appeared old and underweight, and that some were blind and had deformed feet. Many of the animals had fleas, bad skin conditions and had lost fur, investigators said.
Britten’s home was so littered with her belongings and animal waste that investigators had to walk single file through a narrow path inside, sheriff’s officials said.
Britten did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story. She previously characterized herself as a kind-hearted animal lover who simply wanted to help dogs and cats, but got overwhelmed.
“I wanted those animals to get the help they needed but when rescues turn their back on me, what was I supposed to do, let them run around in the street?” she said.
Many of the animals from Britten’s house were taken by rescues such as the Suncoast Animal League and Ruff Rescue in Brooksville, Britten said. Others were treated and released for adoption by animal services.
The departure of animals from Britten’s home relieved several of her neighbors, some of whom said they had long complained of loud early-morning and late-night barking.