- Florida, USA -
Okeechobee County Deputy Sheriff Richard Varnadore arrested 53-years-old BRIAN MATTHEW PEFFER (pictured below).
According to a release by the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, PEFFER was running an unlicensed shelter from his property at 19461 Northwest 288th Street, that housed a total of thirty-three (33) dogs.
A concerned citizen alerted Animal Control Supervisor Amy Fisher to the living conditions of the dogs on the property so she and Deputy Sheriff Varnadore went to PEFFER’s residence.
PEFFER allowed them both into the property.
He admitted to having seventeen dogs and showed investigators fourteen of them fenced in a 100x80 foot area.
Some of the fourteen dogs “had minor injuries, but none seemed in any distress that alarmed investigators”, stated the release.
Three additional dogs “were found in a small 5X5 style utility shed that raised suspicions.”
The sheriff’s office said that inside the shed there was no food or water for the furbabies, the floor was thick and saturated with feces and urine, indicating the poor souls were not being let out, and the heat index inside measured 85 degrees while outside it was 93 degrees.
PEFFER became nervous when his other dogs could be heard barking in another part of the residence.
Further back on the property, there was an additional 20’ by 6’ office-style building, which investigators already knew about, and the barking was coming from inside the structure.
When investigators questioned PEFFER about it, he initially denied having any animals inside, and then, he reluctantly took investigators there.
The release stated that when PEFFER opened the side doors of the building, he said: “Daddy f*****up” to one of the dogs while petting the furbaby.
Inside the structure, Fisher and Varnadore discovered nineteen more dogs who were living in complete squalor without leaving the structure.
According to the sheriff’s office, “The smell of urine and feces was extraordinarily pungent, and the floor was thick with the feces and mixed urine; bad enough, maggots were feeding on it.”
At that point PEFFER admitted to lying to investigators for fear of being arrested and losing his dogs.
PEFFER was then arrested and booked on twenty-two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of obstruction of justice.
A total of thirty-three dogs and two chickens were removed and turned over to Okeechobee Animal Control.
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