POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into a case of animal neglect after an older woman was found living in conditions that were unfit for humans and animals. Deputies responded to a home in unincorporated southwest Polk County and discovered a strong odor of ammonia, feces throughout the house, and over 30 cats living in the residence.
Upon further inspection, it was determined that the living conditions were unlivable, with piles of trash and garbage lining the residence. The air quality was deemed hazardous, and several of the cats were underweight and in need of proper care. Additionally, one dog was also found inside the home.
Following the discovery, Polk County Fire Rescue recorded an ammonia reading of 15 parts per million, confirming that the air inside the residence was not safe for humans or animals to breathe for an extended period. As a result, the dog and 35 cats were removed from the house, which lacked proper amenities such as litter boxes and operational air conditioning.
The suspect, 57-year-old Sharon Cochran, was taken into custody and charged with 36 counts of animal neglect. She was also charged with neglect of an elderly person, as she is the sole caregiver of an 82-year-old woman with limited mobility. The victim was relocated to family members, and the animals are being examined by Animal Control veterinary staff in hopes of rehabilitation and adoption.
Sheriff Grady Judd commented on the situation, expressing concern over the frequency of similar cases and emphasizing the importance of ensuring the animals and the elderly victim receive proper care. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is committed to addressing cases of animal neglect and ensuring the well-being of both animals and vulnerable individuals in the community.
In summary, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a case of animal neglect, resulting in the removal of 35 cats and one dog from a home with hazardous living conditions. The sole caregiver of an elderly woman was charged with neglect, and the animals are now under the care of veterinary staff for potential rehabilitation and adoption.