BROOKSVILLE – Officials say three people face animal cruelty charges, after finding 11 dogs living in deplorable conditions at a residence on Nicholas Ave.
According to officials, on January 4th Animal Enforcement Officer Mandy Rowe noticed several dogs tied to a tree at 18025 Nicholas Ave. Upon closer inspection she noticed three dogs tethered on the east side of the mobile home with one appearing to be in distress.
Along with the assistance of Deputy Steven George, Rowe approached the front door to try and make contact with the residents. Near the front door of the residence Rowe noticed two wire cages; one with three Chihuahuas and another with a Pit Bull lying in its own urine and feces.
Deputy George made contact with Tabitha Gordon who claimed the dogs belonged to her mother-in-law, Tiny Gordan, and that her husband Joshua Thorpe helped care for them.
With Gordon’s permission, George and Rowe proceeded to check on the dogs at the rear of the home. During their investigation they found a female hound or possible Pit Bull mix named Bella. Bella was huddled on the ground, lying on shards of glass, and appeared to be malnourished. Officials say Bella was in very poor condition and that her ribs and shoulder blades were showing, her left eye was swollen, and she had trouble lifting her head. Bella had no food or water nearby and the metal pots used to feed and water her were filled with leaves.
Upon further investigations Deputies Rowe and George found a three addition Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes without food, water, or shelter.
During an interview with Gordon, she appeared to have no concerns for the well-being of the animals despite their poor health conditions. Gordon told Deputies that her husband would be home soon and went back in the house.
All of the dogs appeared to be infested with fleas and covered in flies. There was garbage and the odor of rotting food, urine, and feces all over the property.
Officer Rowe determined that all the animals were being mistreated and that Bella was close to death and needed immediate medical attention.
All of the animals were taken into custody by the Sheriff’s Office and transported to Animal Control for treatment.
Hernando County Animal Services Veterinarian Dr. Julie Rosenberger says Bella weighed 33 pounds upon intake and should have weighed about 45 pounds. She stated the dog was malnourished and extremely anemic from blood loss, due to being infested by thousands of fleas. Bella’s body temperature was so low she required a heating pad to keep her alive. Dr. Rosenberger advised that Bella was probably sick for a month, possibly two, and that she would have been dead within three days, had she not received emergency medical treatment when she did.
Yesterday Deputy Steven George responded back to the residence to serve warrants on 53-year-old Tiny Tharpe, 27-year-old Tabatha Gordon, and 31-year-old Joshua Tharpe. All three are charged with Felony Animal Cruelty and are each free on $1,000 bond.
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