BROOKSVILLE, Fla - Hernando County deputies and Animal Service Officers say they located 11 live cats and one dead cat inside a Brooksville residence that was in such deplorable condition the air ducts were clogged with feces.
On October 25, deputies executed a search warrant at 12102 Peaceful Avenue in Brooksville.
Authorities say they went to the house because a complaint was lodged regarding the mistreatment of cats at this location.
Animal Service Officers reportedly first visited the location on October 16 after receiving a complaint of mistreatment of animals.
Officers noted on that visit that no one appeared to be at home or live at the residence, that there was a large amount of animal feces on the floors, furniture and kitchen counters, the litter boxes were full and the smell of urine and feces was extremely strong.
It is unclear why the cats were not removed from the residence at this time.
Animal Service Officers say they made contact with the property owner, Joann Mercer, who was staying at another location since June 2013.
Mercer allegedly advised that she had a "friend" taking care of her animals and would only identify the friend as "Debbie." Mercer refused to supply any information on "Debbie" so officers could contact her.
Eleven cats were found inside the residence along with one deceased cat.
The residence was in deplorable condition, deputies say. The cats were not receiving proper air quality as the air ducts were clogged with feces, they added.
The cats appeared to be in good health aside from the fact that they were living in feces and were covered in fleas.
All cats were removed from the residence and transported to Hernando County Animal Services. Traps were left on site to catch any cats that escaped while officers were on scene.