11 dogs were seized from a Hernando County property after three people were arrested for animal cruelty.
On Jan. 4, Animal Enforcement Officer (AEO) Mandy Rowe was passing by a residence at 18025 Nicholas Ave. in Garden Grove when she saw at least three dogs tethered to a tree, one of which appeared to be in distress.
With the assistance of Hernando County Deputy Steven George, she went to the door to see if anyone was home, and near the front door saw a small wire cage with Chihuahuas inside. The water bowl was dry and had only dirt in it.
They saw another small wire cage near the front door with a dog in it that appeared to be a Pitbull named Bella lying in its own feces.
When they knocked on the door, Tabitha Gordon answered and said the dogs belonged to her mother-in-law, Tiny Tharpe. She also said her husband, Joshua Tharpe helped care for the dogs, but was not home.
After gaining permission, they walked to the dog that seemed to be in distress, and found that it was lying on shards of glass, malnourished and lethargic. That dog was in poor condition and had trouble even lifting her head.
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 all the animals were being mistreated and that Bella was close to death and needed immediate medical attention.
The animals were taken from the property and transported to Hernando County Animal Services.
It was determined that Bella had been criminally neglected.
Monday Deputy Steven George went back to the residence and arrested Tabitha Gordon, Tiny Tharpe and Joshua Tharpe for animal cruelty.