Inverness woman issued Notice to Appear on animal cruelty charge

Electricians who arrived at an E. Iona Ln. residence in the Highlands area of Inverness, June 26, refused to perform work inside the home due to unsanitary conditions. Instead, the electricians contacted the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. Animal control officers and deputies were dispatched to the home of 75 year-old Barbara Mayne Smith about 4:42 pm.

According to animal control officers, Ms. Smith had too many cats to care for, the residence was extremely filthy, and the cats were living in unhealthy, hazardous circumstances.

The report stated that the air conditioner was not working, that every piece of furniture was covered with cat hair, dust, feces or urine, and most of the food and water bowls were empty or had roaches in them. The incident report stated that several cats were inside cages without food or water.

Due to the filth and strong odor of urine and feces inside the home, deputies called a HazMat team, as well as a fire rescue unit, to assist in clearing and ventilating the home.

All of the 34 cats found inside the home were thin, and many were ill. Ms. Smith told officers that she has 24 (not 34) cats that are only allowed inside the home or onto a screened porch, that she spends about $1,000 per month feeding them, and the conditions inside the home were normal to she and her cats.

When Ms. Smith was asked by a deputy if she felt that conditions inside the home were suitable for she and her cats, Ms. Smith replied that she did, according to the report. She also told the deputy that she did not smell the ammonia inside the home, and she knows exactly what ammonia smells like, the report stated.

Ms. Smith was issued a mandatory notice to appear in court on the animal cruelty charge and was not taken to jail. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was also contacted about the conditions inside the home. All of the cats were taken to the Citrus County Animal Shelter.

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