DISTURBING PHOTOS: 2 arrested after animals removed from Brooksville home

Hernando County Sheriff's Office

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two people were arrested in Brooksville on Thursday after more than a dozen animals were found living in deplorable conditions last week.

On August 25, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about a number of animals living in poor conditions at a property on the 5200 block of Oney Drive.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with Dennis Rodgers, 50, who identified himself as a caretaker for the animals and Debora Meinhardt, 51, as their owner.

Rodgers agreed to walk deputies around the property to visually examine each animal.

They observed seven horses, six dogs, several cats, two squirrels and four exotic birds, all of which were malnourished and in poor health. Water troughs were filled with algae and tadpole infested water and many of the horses had no feed, hay or grass to eat, deputies said. Several horses had untreated wounds, overgrown or broken hoofs and loss of muscle mass. Several dogs on the property were infested with fleas and suffering from various health issues. A blue and gold macaw was living in a cage filled with feces and no water. Two gray squirrels were later found together in a small cage nearby.

Rodgers then showed deputies inside the home.  In the arrest affidavit, they noted it was difficult to move around the house due to all the clutter. The house was covered in excessive debris and animal feces. It also smelled of ammonia, which made deputies eyes burn and made it hard to breathe.

Deputies found more dogs inside the home along with three sun conures in one cage and two cats, all of which seemed to be suffering from neglect.

Animal Services was called to the scene and the animals were removed from the property and evaluated by a veterinarian.

An official veterinarian report stated all seven horses removed from the property were malnourished, suffering from neglect and kept in poor living conditions.

On Thursday, deputies returned to the property and arrested both Meinhardt and Rodgers. They were each charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. Their bond was set to $10,000 each.

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