CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Four people were arrested last week after several kids and dogs were found living in deplorable conditions in two separate Citrus County homes, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies said they were called to a home off East Patience Lane in Inverness on Jan. 24 after someone reported a dog attack.
When deputies and an animal control officer arrived, they found five puppies and six adult dogs living in deplorable conditions. They said none of the dogs were current on their vaccinations.
Deputies said they found the interior of the RV home to be covered in feces and flies. There was also a strong odor of ammonia.
The sheriff’s office said Steven Oliver, 52, and Shannon Oliver, 49, were living with a child in tents outside the RV home. Deputies said there was no access to running water or electricity and the conditions outside the RV were unsafe and unsanitary.
Officials said the child was sleeping in a separate tent with dog urine and feces-covered blankets. The Department of Children and Families was called and immediately removed the child from the home.
Deputies said they even found an open area exposed with human feces and bacteria.
Three days later, Citrus County deputies were called to a home on East Laurel Court in Floral City for a welfare check on an animal.
Deputies said they immediately noticed a child sleeping on a torn-up mattress inside a crib in the middle of the living room. They said another small child was walking around the living room with dried fecal matter on the bottom of their feet.
Officials said they also found seven severely malnourished dogs inside the home. There was animal urine and feces scattered throughout the house, deputies said.
The sheriff’s office said Jannet Fairfield, 35, and Lexx Lucas, 30, were detained for further investigation.
While being questioned, Fairfield said there were three other children living in the home but they were at school.
When deputies asked where the children sleep, Fairfield told them the children do not have beds and instead sleep together on the couch.
All animals were seized and Lucas and Fairfield were arrested, the sheriff’s office said.
The five children were removed from the home by DCF.
“No one, human or animal, should be subjected to live in such appalling conditions,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “The disgusting situation seen in both cases was dangerous not only for the children living in the homes but for the animals as well. Animal abuse and child neglect go hand in hand; if someone cannot care for a pet, then chances are they cannot care for a child. It is crucial that our citizens report any possible signs of neglect that they may see, because sometimes – like in the Olivers’ case – the juvenile may not have regular access to responsible adults who could have helped.”
Deputies said Steven and Shannon Oliver were arrested for 11 counts of animal cruelty and child neglect and Fairfield and Lucas were arrested for seven counts of animal cruelty and child neglect.