DUNEDIN, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Dunedin man has been arrested for the abuse and neglect of an elderly, disabled person - and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says it's his second arrest for alleged abuse of the same victim.
Deputies who were following up on a welfare check of the victim described a home filled with trash and feces, as well as emaciated dogs, puppies living in bins filled with their own feces, birds flying freely, rats, bugs, and overall unsanitary conditions.
The victim, a 67-year-old bedridden woman, and multiple animals were removed from the home.
Pinellas County deputies arrested Richard Lawrence Goodwin, 65, of Dunedin, Thursday. ]
Deputies said they were able to smell rotting trash and animal feces as they walked up the driveway to the home. The sheriff's office said the smell inside was "so overwhelming that deputies had to [wear] masks."
Neighbors said they have watched the junk pile up for years.
“Looks like you know, like a trash pit outside, out front,” Dylan Fresh said. “That’s pretty crazy to think that something hasn’t been done about it.”
According to the sheriff's office, the toilets were "overflowing with feces" and the only working sink was near Goodwin's living quarters - across the home from where the victim stayed.
To reach the victim, deputies said they had to clear a path through the piles of trash in the home.
Neighbor Victoria Muenzerbeer said she was inside the home a few years ago.
“They were hoarders, there was just a path to walk through,” she said. “I think it’s terrible that she’s had a stroke and she’s had to live like that.”
As they walked through the house, deputies said rats, cockroaches, and ants ran across the floors. They also saw spiders, flies, mosquitoes, and black-colored mold on surfaces, the sheriff's office said.
“I went in and it was absolutely, a human being couldn’t live there,” Muenzerbeer said. “The kitchen wasn’t usable, and part of the wall was falling in.”
Pinellas County Animals Services were called to rescue emaciated dogs and two puppies that were "living in a plastic bin that was nearly two inches deep with their own feces." Five macaws were said to be loose in the home and were also taken by animal services.
Deputies said there was no food or water available for the victim or the animals.
“It just gave you a bad feeling, you wondered what was going on,” Ginger Francisco told FOX 13 News. “It doesn’t surprise any of the neighbors, we have been complaining about this for a long time.”
The bedridden woman was taken to the hospital and was said to have non-life threatening injuries. The State of Florida Elderly Abuse Hotline was notified of the conditions.
Goodwin faces one count of abuse/neglect of the aged/disabled and two counts of cruelty to animals.
The sheriff's office said Goodwin was arrested previously for one count of abuse/neglect of the aged/disabled May 6, 2018.
According to court records, that case is still pending, with a court date set for May 1, 2019.