SPRING HILL (FOX 13) - By all accounts, Julia Mathis is an animal lover, and she had quite the collection until Tuesday, when she surrendered four dogs and 17 cats to Pasco County Animal Services.
"I was raised on a 20-acre farm," she told FOX 13. "My parents had all kinds of animals, and I was raised around them."
A concerned citizen contacted the agency about Mathis' animals, but when investigators arrived, they said her place was clean and the animals were well cared for. In spite of that, Mathis decided to let them go, in hopes of finding better homes.
"[Mathis] was handling this as best as she could, but just overwhelmed," said Pasco Animal Services investigator Danielle Downs.
When the surrendered animals were checked out, some had minor problems. Several of the cats had ear mites. None of animals had been vaccinated for rabies.
"All fixable," commented an animal services staffer.
Even though Mathis may not have realized that her responsibilities were becoming burdensome, neighbors knew that it was a difficult situation to live with.
"I have been hearing them through the evening, and all night you hear them," said neighbor Rona Kistler.
Mathis' situation is becoming more and more common. People with big hearts take in animals and don't know when to stop. The animals are generally healthy and friendly, but the owner is run ragged taking care of them. As a result, Pasco County has launched a Hoarding Task Force. More than 500 animals have been surrendered to them in just the last year alone.
The animals Mathis surrendered got the medical care they needed and are now up for adoption in Pasco County. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/pcasap/about/?ref=page_internal