POLK COUNTY, Florida – Police found 35 cats, a dog, and an elderly woman living in deplorable conditions in an unincorporated area of southwest Polk County. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the authorities were responding to a well-being check of the 82-year-old woman. Once inside the home, they encountered a strong smell of ammonia and discovered feces throughout the house. In total, over 30 cats were found inside the home, prompting the PCSO Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit to respond.
Sharon Cochran, 57, was taken into custody and charged with 36 counts of animal neglect. Not only was she responsible for the neglected animals, but she was also the sole caregiver of the elderly woman, who had limited mobility. Furthermore, the home recorded an ammonia reading of 15 ppm, well above the normal breathing air level of 0 ppm. The entire house was filled with cat feces and roaches, with no litter boxes found.
In a statement, Sheriff Grady Judd expressed concern over the situation, stating, “This is the second case in a week where we have found a woman who, thinking she is helping, ended up hoarding animals. The victim is now in the care of other family members, and the animals are being examined by our Animal Control veterinary staff. It is our hope they will be rehabilitated and able to be adopted out to loving homes.”
This is another case highlighting the issues of animal hoarding and neglect, shedding light on the importance of proper care for both animals and vulnerable individuals. The victim and the neglected animals are now in better hands, but the case serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement when it comes to animal welfare and elderly care.