Florida Woman Arrested as Child, Animals Rescued from ‘Deplorable Conditions’

A Florida woman was arrested this week on charges of child neglect and animal cruelty after deputies saw the “deplorable conditions” of her home, which include trash, fecal matter, urine, rotten food, rats, and a variety of insects.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Shannon Marie Morgan, 38, on Wednesday after they received an animal cruelty complaint.

Deputies said they “were overwhelmed by the pungent smell of ammonia” when they entered the home and saw multiple cages and glass aquariums containing snakes and rodents. But, they said, rats and cats were running freely throughout the house.

“It was blatantly obvious; these animals were deprived of all their basic necessities,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Moving throughout the house officials were taken aback by the other deplorable conditions such as trash, dirty dishes, and rotten food scattered all throughout the residence, causing more roaches and flies to pervade the area,” deputies said.

In the next room deputies encountered, they found a ferret and a dog in cages, with the ferret’s cage filled with urine and feces and the dog’s cage too small.

In another bedroom, the deputies found a child surrounding by trash “built up all over the floor creating a habitate for insects, where even the mattress was covered with roaches.”

“Blood was also observed on the floor created by the loose cats eating a rat,” the sheriff’s office said.

A third bedroom contained 50 rodents in cages and hundreds more running freely.

“Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “The conditions of this residence and the animals in this case were so bad, Sheriff’s Office personnel were cautioned about making entry. Neither children nor animals should ever endure this type of environment.”

Animal control officers removed seven cats, a dog, and a ferret from the home and secured it for the removal of the remaining animals.

Morgan was charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty and one count of child neglect and was ordered held on $26,000 bond.

The sheriff’s office did not provide the age of the child found in the house or say where the child was taken.

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[Feaured image: Citrus County Sheriff’s Office]