One year later, dogs rescued from Tampa breeder reunited

It’s been one year since Donna Recchia adopted her dog, Sprout from Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center.

He’s still a little timid but Recchia says his behavior is night and day compared to last year.

“When he came home with me, I had him in my sweatshirt so I could keep him warm and so he could listen to my heartbeat,” she said. “And for the first two or three days so he could feel safe and secure. That’s how we bonded.”

It’s the same story for most of these dogs. Last September, more than 300 of them were rescued from what authorities called deplorable conditions at a Tampa home.

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They were covered in their own feces and urine. Some had missing teeth and broken bones from living in packed cages.

They were cleaned up and adopted out last November.

Now, a year later, they’re having a reunion.

“It’s a celebration of these dogs that were probably at death’s door when we rescued them. Seeing them now, they look totally different,” said the Center’s director Scott Trebatowski.

That’s certainly the case, for Ginger. Kathleen Hamilton and her husband adopted her last year.

“She was so small and so scrawny, and she wouldn’t do anything,” Hamilton said. “She wouldn’t play or anything, but it’s gotten to where she’s very active and playful.”

And the rescue wasn’t just a win for these dogs. It ushered in new laws in Hillsborough County.

“The county passed some ordinances and we’ve been doing closer monitoring of situations, and we are ending pet stores at the end of this year.”

Trebatoski says this one bad event will help eventually thousands of dogs in the long-run.

FOX 13 learned Tuesday that charges against Alice Holt, the operations manager of the Diana Street breeder will be brought this Thursday.

The state attorney’s office says Holt will be facing multiple charges of unlawful confinement or abandonment of an animal.

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In October 2019, Alice Holt, her grandson, and three workers at Trish's All-Breed Grooming made their first appearance in Hillsborough County Court a month after the dogs were confiscated from her property.

The purpose of this hearing was to enjoin anyone that was involved in this case or anything to do with the animals - the care, custody of the animals, anything to do with ownership, Hillsborough County's director of Animal Control said at the time.

The charges brought by the state attorney’s office are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail.

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