‘We have to do better as people’: Florida dog breeders facing 82 counts of neglect

DeSoto County

DESOTO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two workers at a self-proclaimed “husky paradise” are facing more than 80 counts of animal neglect, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say Rose Romano, of Hillsborough County, and Robert Polk, of DeSoto County, ran “Strawberry Farms” in Arcadia, an at-home dog breeder of Siberian huskies.

Deputies say an investigation uncovered complaints from previous employees, arrests out of St. Petersburg and a letter from a local vet who declined to spay one puppy because “she had wounds on her face… no palpable fat… ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible.”

A raid of the home resulted in nearly 60 dogs and 26 other animals being seized in what the sheriff’s office called “deplorable conditions.”

“We have to do better as people,” Sheriff James Potter said. “These animals don’t deserve to live like this.”

Robert Polk of DeSoto County

Polk was arrested at the scene and charged with 82 counts of neglect.

A warrant was issued for Romano, who faced similar charges in Pinellas County three years earlier when she ran a rescue business called “Happy Hounds of Tampa Bay,” court records revealed.

Anyone with the information is asked to contact the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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