Friday, April 20, 2018
Public safety

Animal Services cites Spring Hill woman for mistreating dogs

SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill woman who was found in mid June living with dozens of animals in filthy conditions now faces multiple citations and a civil court date.

Naoma Britten, 66, was keeping 55 dogs and six cats in her home at 12287 Landfair St., according to a Hernando County Sheriff's Office news release. Deputies originally reported that she had 50 animals, but found more after searching the house.

After veterinarians assessed the dogs, Britten was issued 11 citations totaling $16,000 for mistreatment of 34 dogs, according to the release. As many as four dogs can be listed on one citation.

Veterinarians had to euthanize a male poodle that was taken from Britten's house with bloody sores and fur matted over its eyes, which blinded the dog.

Animal Services officer Brenda Rodgers filed a petition to determine an animal owner's fitness with the Hernando County civil court. The petition describes the conditions at Britten's home. Kennels were stacked on top of each other and many of them were packed with up to 2 inches of feces. Fresh water wasn't available and many animals were sleeping in their own waste.

Britten's court date is set for July 15.

All of the dogs were removed from the house by June 19, two days after deputies found them. Hernando County Animal Services took in 26 dogs and 21 more went to the Suncoast Animal League. The remaining dogs were taken in by private rescues.

Animal Services veterinarians are still waiting on assessments of the dogs from the animal league. Depending on the outcome of those assessments, Britten could face more citations, according to the release.

This wasn't the first time deputies visited Britten's house for an animal complaint.

In May 2013, the Sheriff's Office received an email complaint that excessive barking and a strong scent of urine were coming from Britten's home, according to an incident report. An animal services officer responded to the home and found 43 dogs and three kittens in good condition. Britten was issued a citation because the dogs did not have rabies vaccinations and were not licensed.

Britten then moved to a different address on Moon Road, according to the report. The officer conducted a followup visit and found the animals to be in good condition. Deputies are not sure when she moved back to the Landfair Street address.

Britten has a nonprofit corporation registered with the state called the Cuddly Pooch Rescue Inc., according to Florida records. The rescue has no affiliation with Animal Services.

A phone number listed for Britten was not answered Thursday afternoon.

Contact Kathryn Varn at [email protected] or (352) 754-6114. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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