- Florida, USA -
On the afternoon of Thursday, April 27, 2023, a Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a home on East Yale Lane in Hernando to assist Citrus County Animal Control Officer Gallant with an animal cruelty complaint.
According to the arrest affidavit for 56-years-old LISA MARIE BENNETT (pictured) obtained by Voice For Us, underneath the carport of the single-wide mobile home, the deputy saw three kennels that had each a dog inside, and another kennel with two dogs inside. All four kennels had layered feces and urine on the ground.
In addition to the kennels, the deputy observed a refrigerator and upon inspection, the deputy discovered that in the freezer compartment were two deceased cats wrapped in separate blankets.
In the backyard the deputy found four large wooden cages containing a total of nineteen cats. “The litter boxes in each cage were overflowing to the point where the ground inside the cages was layered with feces and urine”, stated the affidavit. Most of the cats had feces and urine matted into their fur, and two of them had open sores on their backs, as well as thick discolored mucus secreting from their tiny mouths and nose, making it difficult for them to breathe. ACO Gallant also located a deceased cat in one of the cages.
The deputy reported that the smell of ammonia emanating from the cages was so severe that it made it very difficult to breath, “even when standing multiple feet away from the cages.”
When the deputy and ACO Gallant entered the home, they said the smell of ammonia and feces was so severe that burned their eyes. “There were animal feces throughout the entire house. Some of the feces had been lying there for so long it had molded and began to disintegrate into dust”, stated the affidavit.
Inside the home, in two separate rooms, the deputy and ACO Gallant found a total of seventeen cats and two dogs. Among the dogs was a brown long-haired Chihuahua who was covered in fleas and was blind in one eye.
BENNETT said that the blindness in the Chihuahua’s eyes was due to untreated cataracts. The Chihuahua also had multiple areas of his/her fur severely matted and clumped.
ACO Gallant then advised that in October 2022, Citrus County Animal Control had issued BENNETT a citation and ordered her to fix the problems of the neglected animals and to take them to a veterinarian for care.
ACO Gallant further advised that that the dogs present at the home were in the same kennels as on October 17, 2022, and the living conditions for them were even worse than before.
BENNET said that since the citation, she has not taken any of the animals to the veterinarian and stated that she had been giving the sick and injured animals her prescribed pain medication because the medication prescribed by the vet was expensive.
When asked why she did not contact the Citrus County Animal Shelter or Animal Control to surrender the animals, and ask for assistance, BENNETT stated that she was told to stop calling.
BENNET was then questioned about the litter boxes and the conditions of the cages and the kennels. To that, she responded that it had been approximately three weeks since she had changed the litter in each of the cages.
According to the affidavit, BENNETT said “she did not have any excuse for her actions and lack of caring for all of the animals” and added that it “became too much for her to handle.”
BENNETT was also questioned about the two deceased cats in the freezer and said that they died approximately three weeks apart and she wanted to bury them together so, she froze them until she could bury them.
With regards to the deceased cat found by ACO Gallant, BENNETT said she didn’t realize a cat was missing because she had too many and lost count.
The deputy wrote in his report that due to the unnecessary, preventable, and prolonged pain and suffering the animals endured, and BENNETT admitting to willfully neglecting to take appropriate care of them, BENNET was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty, and thirty-nine counts of animal cruelty.
Online records show that she is being held in Citrus County Jail on a $47,000 bond.
BENNETT’s arraignment is scheduled to take place on May 12, 2023, at 9:00a.m. before Judge Joel D. Fritton.
Voice For Us Disclaimer: This story is sourced from official news outlets. Links included.
Details may be removed or additional information may be provided in future should such sources report an update.
BENNETT’s mugshot provided to Voice For Us by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.