LAKE ALFRED (FOX 13) - Over a dozen cats have been rescued and their owner has been arrested after deputies reportedly found them living in a single-wide trailer overloaded with trash, feces and filth.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy made the discovery on January 3 at a man named Cecil Miller’s home, located on Palm Circle Drive in Lake Alfred, after someone complained he was living with more than an estimated 30 cats.
The deputy said the smell of ammonia and feces overwhelmed him as he knocked on the door, and that the odor grew even worse when Miller answered, taking his breath away and causing his eyes to water.
Miller reportedly refused to let the deputy inside, saying he would need a warrant, and assuring him he only had a few cats with “plenty of water, food and shelter.”
The sheriff’s office says the deputy ordered a warrant after seeing cats on top of a large trash pile behind Miller, and learning that Miller had been barred from owning animals in 2007 because of previous animal cruelty cases.
Once inside with the warrant, the deputy reportedly found the entire residence to be covered in trash, and human and animal feces.
The kitchen. The bedrooms. The bathroom.
“Throughout the whole residence I could not find one spot on the floor that was clear,” said the deputy.
Things were so bad that two of the cats had passed away. One was said to be on top of a trash can and wrapped in a towel that “appeared to have been there for a long time”. The other was found behind the toilet in the bathroom.
Though they searched high and low- through the estimated three-to-four-foot-high trash pile in the living room, and in the other feces-covered rooms- deputies said they could not find any clean or fresh water for the cats.
Miller reportedly told deputies he did not think the living conditions were that bad, and added that he did not believe an injunction still stood that prevented him from owning animals.
He was booked at the Polk County Jail.
The cats were brought to a local rescue, where they are now being cared for.