Odor from rat breeder may force Hernando woman to move - WFLA News Channel 8

Odor from rat breeder may force Hernando woman to move

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BROOKSVILLE, FL (WFLA) -

For several years, Linda Armstrong of Brooksville has been dealing with a smell that she says makes her sick. 

"The odor is awful. It comes our way most of the time," said Armstrong.

The source of the odor was two compost piles made from the droppings, feed and beading of rats, mice and rabbits just feet from Armstrong's fence. Her neighbor, Justin Penfold, breeds rodents and rabbits for zoos and pet feed stores. Armstrong contacted 8 on your side to see if we could get answers.

We contacted Chris Linsbeck with Hernando Count Code Enforcement about the two compost piles that Armstrong said were too close to her fence.

Last week, Linsbeck said, "we did a measurement on the property lines that contain a residence and our code requires 100 feet from each property line that has a single family residence on that premises." 

Linsbeck said the two compost piles were well within the 100 feet limit and he told Justin Penfold to move them.

It has now been a week and the piles are gone. And there is no apparent smell. But Linda Armstrong says that's not always the case.

Armstrong says she, " also [has] issue with the rat farm buildings that the fans are on the side that face my house and I'm constantly surrounded by the smell of rats and it all makes me very sick."

Justin Penfold told us on our first visit to his property two weeks ago that breeding these animals will produce a smell.

"We're an agricultural facility. I mean within what we are allowed to do," Penfold said. 

Linda Armstrong says she is still concerned about the health risks involved. We contacted the Health Department and they said there are no health risks that they could find and that the case is closed.

Armstrong doesn't agree with them. She says that now she is running out of options and may have to move.

"Definitely leave with no doubt about it. I don't even know if I can do two years of this. I may have to go live with my son or something I just cannot stay with this. No one should live with this," Armstrong said.

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