PASCO COUNTY, Fl - Two dead, decaying dogs were found inside a Pasco home and a third malnourished dog, according to Pasco County deputies. Deputies say the third dog had no food and survived by eating one of the dead dogs.
Michelle Schratwieser, 48, is now facing felony cruelty to animal charges.
Deputies were called out to Schratwieser's home on a welfare check Thursday after Susan Lyons, a neighbor, heard a dog whining.
"I heard moaning and whining and thought well maybe she didn't make it home to let them go potty," said Lyons.
Deputies say when they went into the home located at 7709 Atherton Avenue in New Port Richey they noted an overwhelming smell of decay.
"Animals give us nothing but unconditional love. How could somebody do that?" Lyons said while crying.
The arrest affidavit states the deputies found two dead dogs that were decaying. A third dog was still alive but could not see out of its eyes due to mucous in its eyes. Deputies say the dog was shaking, malnourished and appeared to have eaten one of the dead dogs.
"She had flies on her. She had fleas on her. Real skinny," Lyons recalled.
Deputies described the interior of the home as full of feces, urine and fur. It was also noted in the arrest affidavit that there was no food or water left for the dogs.
Deputies found Schratwieser at her place of employment. According to the arrest affidavit, she told deputies one of the dogs died and she "freaked out," left and did not return.
She reportedly told deputies she had not been at the home for several weeks. She also alleged the dogs belonged to her ex-boyfriend who left them in her care after they broke up four years ago.
"I didn't see her a lot. She wasn't very talkative to anybody. She was kind of a loner," Lyons said of Schratwieser.
The surviving dog, a female Rottweiler named Sasha, was brought out through a bedroom window after deputies lured her out with a chicken breast. Deputies immediately gave the dog, whose ribs were clearly visible, water. They say she drank three bowls. Food was also given to the dog but she immediately threw it up, deputies said.
The deceased dogs were identified as Jesse, a lab-pitbull mix, and Jordan, a German Shepherd.
Deputies say the air conditioning in the home was turned off and all the windows were shut.
"There was a very bad odor," Lyons explained. She says the odor was so bad she initially thought her neighbor had died and no one had found her body.
Lyons told ABC Action News she would have helped Schratweiser if only she'd asked. Lyons, who has two dogs, a cat, a pig and fish, says she could have given them a loving home.
"I would've brought her dog food, taken them in temporarily until I could find them a home," she said.
Pasco Animal Control officers and took Sasha to Animal Emergency due to her condition. On Friday afternoon, our cameras rolled as Sasha ate fresh food and drank water. She also sat, barked and wanted to be rubbed.
Sasha will be placed up for adoption in a couple weeks. Lyons says she is thinking of taking her home.
Schratwieser was booked into the Land O' Lakes jail and is facing three counts of felony animal cruelty.
She is being held on $1,500 bond.
There is no word on where Schratwieser stayed after she left her home. Neighbors say she did not own a car.