34 cats seized from 'extreme filth, hazardous conditions' inside Citrus County house

Owner denies wrongdoing, 'shocked' cats taken away
Posted at 11:13 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 23:13:17-04

According to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a house on East Iona Lane after an electrician refused to go inside due to unsanitary conditions. 

Animal Control units were called, along with a Fire Hazmat Unit because of the "extreme filth and strong odor of ammonia which made it hard to breath once inside the home."

Investigators say every piece of Barbara Smith's furniture was covered in one inch of cat hair, dust, feces or urine. Food and water bowls were either empty or had roaches inside of them. 

They also report that Smith's floors were completely covered in feces and urine. 

The 75-year-old told ABC Action News Tuesday night that she is shocked that the sheriff's office is making a big deal out of conditions found inside her home. 

"Water dishes are clean, food dishes were clean when the sheriff was here," said Smith. "They said the house smelled, I don't smell it."

A neighbor told ABC Action News, Smith only had good intentions. 

"That's all she wanted, just wanted the cats to be taken care of," said Robert Phelps. 

Smith says she delivers meals to seniors, who often ask her to adopt their pets. 

"And would say could I possibly take their cat so it wouldn't be killed and that's why one by one by one the number grew," said Smith. 

The Citrus County Animal Shelter seized all 34 cats from Smith's house. The sheriff's office says all were skinny and many appeared to be sick. 

Smith was not taken to jail but given a mandatory notice to appear in court next month.