When Sarasota Animal Services Officers entered a Venice home last May, they found more than 230 suffering dogs. The animals were kept in filthy wire crowded wire cages, according to officers.
The owner, 60-year old Donna Faircloth was charged with 4 counts of animal abuse. On January 4th, through a plea deal, all but one charge was dropped and the judge withheld adjudication. She ended-up with a $100 fine.
Animal rights advocate, Wendy Scott is outraged at the light penalty. "I spent more than $100 helping fosters with flea medication, puppy food..pads," said Scott. She was one of dozens of volunteers from local dog rescue groups who scrambled to take-in and care for the dogs. "I just think the animal rescue world needs to be assured that this isn't going to happen again with this particular couple and why aren't the taxpayers going to be reimbursed for all the costs," said Scott.
Lt. Scott Ortner, Animal Services section of the Sarasota Sheriff's Office, explained Faircloth's charges were misdemeanors and it was her first offense. Most cases requiring restitution involve felonies or after multiple prior convictions. Also, in this case, donations helped cover most of the costs associated with Faircloth's dogs.
Lt. Ortner said the most important thing is a court order prohibiting Faircloth from breeding dogs in the future. She is allowed to keep her four house dogs, but even those animals must be neutered or spayed. Officers will be checking on her to make sure she complies.
Faircloth also owned several exotic birds. She was allowed to keep those animals, and is being monitored by Fish and Wildlife officers.
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