Woman Charged After Cops Remove Over 300 Animals From Her Mobile Home

(Public/Screenshot/Facebook/User: Polk County Sheriff's Office)

John Oyewale Contributor
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A woman has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect after police officers removed over 300 animals from her central Florida mobile home, authorities said Friday.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputies found “an unbelievable situation” during a welfare check on Lisa Lacharite’s double-wide trailer in Frostproof, Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference Friday.

The officers seized 142 cats, 164 ducks and chickens, one peacock, and three dogs, all living in the home with Lacharite and her 75-year-old mother in unsanitary conditions, Judd reported.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” he told reporters.

The Florida chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) suspected that Lacharite was an animal hoarder when she twice sought sterilization for 22 cats, Randa Richter of SPCA Florida said during the press conference, adding that the animals were in “extremely poor condition.”

Lacharite reportedly told the SPCA that the rest of the animals at her house were “in way worse condition,” prompting the SPCA to tip off the police.

The fire department reportedly determined from a free air quality test that the concentration of ammonia — which can build up in the presence of large amounts of animal waste — was 100 parts per million (ppm) in the trailer, double the level considered hazardous.

“The good news is we didn’t find any deceased animals. I think that her intent was not evil, but she was clearly overwhelmed. And she didn’t cooperate with SPCA … When we came, she admitted she had a problem and turned them over to us,” Judd said.

Lacharite, 48, was charged with misdemeanor and felony animal abuse charges and a felony charge of neglecting her elderly mother, who was taken to the hospital, Judd added. (RELATED: Animal Shelter Rescues Nearly 40 Dogs From ‘Pretty Horrific Conditions’ In One Home)

Lacharite worked as a second-grade teacher at Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Elementary School in Frostproof. “The people at school said that she smelled all the time,” Judd told reporters.

Sheriff Judd appealed for people to adopt some of the animals in the PCSO Animal Control shelter to free up space for the seized animals. He announced that adoption fees would be waived and that vaccinations and chips would be provided for free in order to incentivize potential adopters.

“We’ll commit to taking the 22 that we spayed and neutered,” Richter said.