Animal Neglect Leads to Arrest of Polk County Woman After Seizure of Over 30 Cats from Unlivable Home

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a case of animal neglect after an older woman was found living in squalid conditions with over 30 cats and a dog at a residence on Pope Lane in unincorporated southwest Polk County. Deputies responding to a well-being check detected a strong odor of ammonia and discovered the animals, prompting the investigation.

According to the sheriff’s office, the air inside the residence was deemed hazardous for both humans and animals, with an ammonia reading of 15 ppm. Additionally, the house lacked working air conditioning and proper sanitation for the animals, leading to the removal of the dog and 35 cats by officials from the PCSO.

The sole caregiver of an 82-year-old woman with limited mobility, 57-year-old Sharon Cochran, was charged with 36 counts of animal neglect and one count of neglect of an elderly person. The elderly victim was relocated to family members, while the animals were taken in for examination and potential rehabilitation by Animal Control veterinary staff.

Sheriff Grady Judd expressed concern for the well-being of the animals involved and highlighted the importance of finding them loving homes. This incident marks the second case within a week where individuals, believing they were helping, were found hoarding animals. The hope is that the animals will be rehabilitated and placed for adoption, according to the sheriff.

In conclusion, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is addressing a serious case of animal neglect, with an elderly woman and a multitude of animals living in hazardous conditions at a residence in unincorporated southwest Polk County. The caregiver, Sharon Cochran, faces charges related to the neglect of the animals and the elderly woman. The animals are under the care of Animal Control veterinary staff and will hopefully find homes where they can receive proper care and attention.