BROOKSVILLE — A woman sharing a filthy tent with 18 caged cats and a parakeet has been cited for animal neglect.
When Hernando County Sheriff's Office deputies visited the site Wednesday, they found the cats living in cages so filled with soiled newspapers and feces that the normally 5-pound cages weighed as much as 70 pounds. One cat had only about 6 inches of space to move around.
Susan Kay, 64, was living at a campsite in the Hidden Valley Campground, east of Brooksville. While there was an Airstream camper on site, it was overrun with rats and insects, and deputies determined that Kay was living in the tent with the animals.
Kay was not there at the time but returned while Animal Services officers were present. She signed all the animals over to them.
Officers had to transfer some of the cats to different cages to transport them, and a couple escaped. They left traps behind in case the cats return. On Thursday afternoon, Hernando County Animal Services managing veterinarian Lisa Centonze was assessing the cats.
One was to be euthanized due to illness, and two Siamese cats were placed up for adoption. A rescue group is interested in the parakeet, Centonze reported. She was still assessing the other cats.
In a note sent to local rescue groups she wrote: "Please help us to save some of these cats. We will hold them here until 4 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, but after that will have to make some difficult decisions.''
Kay received a notice to appear on the neglect charges. She must pay the $9,000 fine or appear before a special master.