A welfare check in Dunedin led authorities to a bedridden woman trapped in deplorable conditions plus nearly a dozen neglected and starved dogs, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The man tasked with taking care of them, 65 year old Richard Goodwin, is charged with abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled person and two counts of animal cruelty.
Goodwin was arrested Wednesday night and bonded out of jail as of Thursday. However, he did not come to the door when News Channel 8 stopped by the home on Pinehurst Drive Thursday afternoon.
Neighbors call the case “sad and sickening.”
“This is a really nice neighborhood, and to know this is going on right next door to you is appalling,” said Tami Briganti.
Investigators say neither the 67 year old female victim nor the animals appeared to have food or water when they entered the home. Dogs were found in plastic bins, trapped in their own waste. Five large exotic birds were found loose in the home as well.
The victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Pinellas County Animal Services says the birds were not removed from the home but animal services officers removed the ten dogs. Some are puppies, just days old. All are doing okay despite the conditions they came from.
“We don’t see [cases] like this everyday, but we see it a lot more frequently than we would like,” said Pinellas County Animal Services director Doug Brightwell. “Not an environment that anybody, animal or person, should be living in.”
Goodwin was arrested in May 2018 for neglecting the same woman. Court documents show the home was in just as bad a state then, covered in trash, feces, urine, and dead birds.
“I just would like to see this not ever happen again, for humans and for the animals,” Tami Briganti said.
Court records show Goodwin is still awaiting trial for the 2018 charges. PCAS director Doug Brightwell says it is legally possible for Goodwin to reclaim the dogs while he waits for these newer charges to play out. However, Brightwell added that PCAS is considering petitioning for custody.