TAMPA — A 52-year-old Brandon woman is behind bars, accused of mistreating 28 cats in her 2,217-square foot suburban home.
Constance R. Biebel, 2826 Minuteman Lane in Brandon, is charged with 28 counts of confining animals without food and water and 10 counts of cruelty toward animals. Some of the cats were without eyes, and all had eye problems and hair loss, according to an arrest report.
Hillsborough County Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan said officers seized 28 cats Friday after being notified by county code enforcement that there was a problem there.
The cats have been so mistreated and are so ill that she expected most to be euthanized imminently.
"This was just very frustrating, very heart wrenching for all of us," Ryan said. "The most humane thing we can do is end their misery."
Biebel was booked into Orient Road Jail at 2:36 p.m. She is being held on $34,000 bond. She told arresting officers that she was responsible for the situation and that her husband had nothing to do with it, according to the arrest report.
Friday's seizure came as county officials were still trying to trap cats from another residence, 516 Crowned Eagle Court, where a 74-year-old woman was discovered in deteriorating health while keeping dozens of sick and equally deteriorating cats.
Ryan said she and her employees have been infuriatingly busy seizing mistreated pets, while people who no longer want them are lining up, hoping to leave them with the shelter.
"It is very, very sad and we take it very seriously," Ryan said.
Then she directed her frustration over the situation at irresponsible pet owners: "Spay and neuter, for crying out loud."
Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3383.