ASPCA Assists Union County Sheriff’s Office in Rescuing More than 50 Animals from Florida Neglect Case

The neglected dogs and cats, including newborn kittens, will be relocated to an emergency shelter operated by the ASPCA to receive medical and behavioral treatment and care
August 17, 2022

Lake Butler, Fla.—At the request of the Union County Sheriff’s Office and Union County Animal Control, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with the rescue of more than 50 cats and dogs from a property in Lake Butler, Fla. When investigators arrived on the property, they discovered the animals, including newborn kittens, living in filthy conditions amongst their own feces and urine and exposed to elevated levels of ammonia. Some of the animals were underweight and appeared to be suffering from untreated medical conditions.

The ASPCA is also assisting with operational planning, evidence collection, legal assistance, forensics exams, medical care, and behavioral treatment and enrichment for the animals. The animals removed from the property today are being relocated to the ASPCA’s Cruelty Recovery Center. Brevard SPCA is assisting with this case by transporting and providing overnight care for the cats, and Flagler Humane Society provided medical assistance on scene. Florida Urgent Rescue (FUR) in Jacksonville also assisted with this case by providing care for more than 40 dogs who were previously removed from the property, resulting in the rescue of more than 90 animals in total. The animals previously removed from the property by FUR were placed with local animal welfare groups for adoption, including: 4 Lucky Dogs Pet Rescue, Inc.; Clay County Animal Services; Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida; Puppy Hill Farm Animal Rescue; Underdog Rescue of Florida; Unforgettable Paws; and VIP Rescue Florida.

“When we arrived on the property, it was clear immediate intervention was necessary to remove these animals from the poor conditions they were living in so we could provide them with much-needed care,” said Teresa Ladner, senior director of investigations for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is grateful to be in a position where we can respond quickly to end animal suffering, and we thank the Union County Sheriff’s Office for prioritizing animal welfare in their community and recognizing the need for assistance.”

“We would like to thank the ASPCA for working closely with our agency on this complex investigation into animal cruelty. We always take animal cruelty seriously and it will not be tolerated in our county,” said Union County Sheriff Brad Whitehead. “We continue to work closely with the ASPCA and thank them for their expertise and support so we can proceed with criminal charges and prosecution, and to ensure the wellbeing of these animals.”

Animal cruelty charges are pending based on evidence collected by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of ASPCA experts in support of the investigation. Any criminal charges that result from this case will be handled by the Eighth Judicial Circuit States Attorney’s Office. The ASPCA is also providing support to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

The ASPCA deploys nationally to assist local authorities in animal cruelty cases including animal fighting, hoarding, and puppy mills. It also provides local communities with resources including grant funding, training, and subject matter expertise to effectively assist animals during cruelty and disaster situations.