SPRING HILL — A Hernando County deputy responding to a complaint of continuous dog barking found a squalid house packed with 47 dogs and three cats Wednesday afternoon.
The animals were in poor condition, as many were old, underweight and blind, with fleas, poor skin and deformed feet, county sheriff’s officials reported.
Naoma Britten, of 12287 Landfair Street, Spring Hill, told a deputy and Animal Services officer that she runs a non-profit animal rescue out of her home, but has been too sick to care for the animals, the officials said.
Investigators reported that the house was strewn with trash, dirty carpet and dishes, filthy animal carriers and piles of animal feces.
Britten signed over ownership of 21 dogs to Hernando County Animal Services on Wednesday, the sheriff’s office reported. She has until June 25 to place the 29 remaining animals with rescue groups or friends. If the animals are not relocated by then, they also will be placed with Animal Services, sheriff’s spokesperson Denise Moloney stated in a news release.
In Britten’s garage, metal crates containing multiple dogs were stacked, and the crates were not big enough for the animals, which did not have water, sheriff’s officials said.
Inside Britten’s home, the living area was so over-run with her belongings that “there was only one path to get through the home and only one person could fit through at a time,” Moloney said.
Britton slept in a bed surrounded by baby gates in a room with seven dogs, the investigators reported.
The investigation continued Wednesday afternoon. Citations and a court date will be issued once veterinary examinations are completed, sheriff’s officials said.