LUTZ — Hillsborough County Animal Services seized 62 dogs and three cats from a breeder Wednesday charged with 80 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Officials say Maxine Reynolds, 72, had been warned in September to clean up the deplorable conditions of her home kennels.
But investigators arrived at her home Wednesday afternoon to find floors covered in water, urine and feces, with animals roaming the property in groups as well as confined in filthy cages, said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for animal services.
Investigators found Pomeranians, poodles and mixed-breed Pom-Poos inside the house at 5711 Carey Road. Some were nursing, others pregnant in a spare bedroom converted into a maternity ward, and a few of the animals were visibly ill, Ryan said.
"We received an anonymous tip in January and another in September," Ryan said.
Authorities warned the breeder to clean up the mess in July, she said.
Reynolds was charged with misdemeanors because Ryan said there had been an effort to clean-up the conditions after the warning, but it still didn't meet standards.
"She's a known breeder who advertises Pomeranians that can go anywhere from $500 to $700 a pop," Ryan said. "I think she has a lot of love in heart for these animals but she may have just been overwhelmed."
Reynolds runs her business out of an office on the side of her home, which was kept clean and tidy, investigators noted.
"But as soon as you step in the front yard you could smell the animal waste," Ryan said. "It was disgusting."
Most of the animals were willingly surrendered to animal services and will be examined to determine if they can be sent out for adoption with partner shelters such as the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
"Some of the puppies are newborn, so they have to spend some time with mom," Ryan said.
Until that time, animal services and local shelters are accepting donations of comfort items that the agencies can't afford such toys and towels and necessities in short supply such as food.