In what Polk County Sheriff's Office in Bartow, Fla. claimed was their largest animal seizure in history, a jury in Polk City found Charles and Diane O'Malley, former owners of a dog rescue, guilty of eight counts of animal cruelty late Friday afternoon.
Sentenced to a year's probation the couple may not possess any animals during that time except for a bull named Bob who resides on their property. The O'Malleys were also ordered to undergo mental evaluation and follow any recommended treatment.
The couple were former owners of the nonprofit Mid-Florida Retriever Rescue, and in May 2010 were arrested and charged with multiple misdemeanor charges of insufficient food, water, and exercise for the animals. Authorities removed 261 dogs living in urine, feces and extreme filth from the Angus Road home. Rescuers had to use gas masks to remove Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Great Danes, cattle dogs, Sharpeis, dalmatians, and bulldogs.
According to The Ledger.com, the investigation was poorly done, but there was enough evidence for the jury to consider ten charges of unnecessarily overloading, over driving, tormenting or depriving animals. The jury found the couple guilty of eight of the charges. Their defense attorney argued that the couple were not criminals, and in the past they had found homes for more than 700 dogs.
The dogs were sent to A New Beginning Pet Rescue in Orlando, and the majority of the dogs have since been adopted.
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