When a Hillsborough animal services investigator arrived at the home in the 3600 block of Beechwood Boulevard, he found a gruesome scene:
A wire cage. Two dead dogs. One dog was inside the cage. The other - so decomposed officials couldn't determine its gender - was lying nearby.
"I saw the photographs," department spokeswoman Marti Ryan said. "They are truly horrible. There is no way that any animal lover could stomach these."
Ryan said 54-year-old Shirley McKenzie left the dogs, pit bulls or pit bull mixes, to die. She "claimed these dogs belonged to her son, who had moved out," Ryan said. "She claimed to the investigator knowledge of the dogs. She knew they were there. She did not apparently do anything to care for them and allowed them to waste away."
Deputies arrested McKenzie at 6:51 p.m. Monday, and she posted $5,000 bail a few hours later. She was charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty and two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for improper confinement and failure to provide food and water.
"We wish we had gotten this report earlier and spared these dogs what had to be a very slow and painful perishing," Ryan said.