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Woman, 84, housed with 85 animals

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — An 84-year-old woman was removed Thursday morning from a home near New Smyrna Beach where she was found living with 15 turkeys, 20 ducks and a dog.

There were also about 50 cats inside the house, some of which the woman piled on top of her at night to try to keep warm because there was no heat.

The woman's daughter, 54-year-old Mary Bosket, faces a charge of neglect of the elderly, sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught said.

Mary Phillips told deputies she used to live in a nursing home, but was moved to the house by her daughter. The rural property was purchased in April 2007, and Bosket claims a homestead exemption on it, according to Volusia County property records.

The woman, who suffers from congestive heart failure, was using a faulty oxygen machine, the only toilet in the house wasn't working, and the sinks wouldn't drain, Haught said.

Animal feces covered the floors of nearly every room, and the house reeked of cat urine, he said.

Phillips, who said she didn't like living in the house because nobody paid her any attention, told deputies her daughter stopped by from time to time to help care for the animals.

Deputies found the turkeys in one bedroom — all but one of them caged — and the ducks, along with an empty child's swimming pool, in another.

The dog was in a third bedroom where the feces had piled up and had not been removed for quite some time, deputies said. Cats were roaming all rooms of the house except the bedrooms where the other animals were being kept. Besides the animals inside the house, there were geese, ducks and chickens in the back yard, Haught said.

Bosket was summoned to the house and was arrested after admitting that she knew about the conditions in which her mother was living, Haught said. She said she sometimes stayed at the house, but deputies could find no evidence that she had ever stayed there, Haught said.

Animal control officers rounded up the animals and found two dead cats in a freezer. Phillips is now in the care of state welfare workers.

Woman, 84, housed with 85 animals 11/29/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 30, 2008 6:44pm]
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