BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Seven dogs including several puppies are currently being evaluated after deputies say they were found locked inside a storage unit in Hernando County.
Deputies say just before 11:30 a.m. an anonymous caller contacted the sheriff’s office stating that dogs were possibly being kept in a storage unit in the area of Hale Avenue and Dr. MLK Jr. Boulevard.
An animal enforcement officer was dispatched to the storage unit and was able to find the unit in the back of the facility and heard dogs barking.
According to the facility owner, that particular unit is not currently rented, meaning the suspects broke into the vacant unit before locking the dogs inside.
Deputies were able to get into the padlocked storage unit using bolt cutters and found seven dogs including one white dog tethered to a very short leash with a bowl of water nearby.
Two Chihuahuas were in a metal crate, on top of another metal crate. Neither had food or water.
In the other metal crate was a mother dog and three small puppies between six and eight weeks old. The puppies and mother did not have food or water. Deputies also say there was no ventilation in the storage unit.
All dogs were removed from the storage unit and taken to Hernando County
Animal Services to be evaluated by the veterinarian.
A spokesperson with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office says the dogs appeared to be in good condition, all things considered. The cages were relatively clean, as well.
Sandy Smiley lives two doors down from the storage facility and said she heard barking puppies the last couple of days. She assumed a neighbor just had a litter of puppies.
Depending on what happens to the dogs, Smiley said she wouldn’t be opposed to adopting one of them herself.
“You never know!” she said. “We just lost our dog a few months ago, so I mean, it’s possible.”
In addition to the dogs, investigators say the suspects stashed some personal belongings in the unit as well. They hope either that or possible fingerprints left behind will lead to the suspects.
If caught, they’ll likely be charged with animal cruelty and burglary.
If anyone has any information regarding the owner of these dogs, please
contact Deputy Steve George at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at