POLK COUNTY, Florida – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into a case of animal neglect. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence in unincorporated southwest Polk County for a well-being check on an older woman. Upon arrival, they encountered a strong smell of ammonia, feces throughout the house, and more than 30 cats living inside.
Subsequently, the PCSO Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit was summoned to the scene. Detectives found the home to be unlivable, with difficult breathing conditions, piles of trash and garbage, and several underweight cats in need of care. A dog was also discovered on the premises. Further examination revealed an ammonia reading of 15 ppm, rendering the air unfit for humans or animals to breathe for an extended period.
As a result, the authorities removed the dog and 35 cats from the house, which lacked proper ventilation and sanitation. The suspect, Sharon Cochran, was taken into custody and charged with 36 counts of animal neglect. In addition, she was charged with neglect of an elderly person, as she is the sole caretaker of an 82-year-old woman.
Sheriff Grady Judd expressed concern over the growing trend of individuals hoarding animals in misguided attempts to help, while inadvertently causing harm. The animals are currently under the care of the Animal Control veterinary staff, with hopes of rehabilitation and eventual adoption into loving homes.
In summary, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with a distressing case of animal neglect, as Sharon Cochran faces charges for mistreating over 30 cats and a dog, along with neglect of an elderly person. The animals and the elderly victim are now under proper care and supervision, following the intervention by law enforcement.