43-year-old Amy Lynn Dvorak of Merritt Island, Florida, is facing multiple counts of animal cruelty charges after 23 cats were discovered in a filthy Brevard County storage unit, according to Spacecoastdaily. The nearly two dozen felines were kept inside the unit, located on Amsdell Road in Merritt Island. The investigation began when workers at the facility called deputies after smelling a foul odor coming from the unit, and then found the animals in deplorable conditions.
They were living in the storage unit with no food, no air conditioning or ventilation. Feces and urine covered the entire unit. The defendant is now residing in the Brevard County Jail, facing a $57,500 bond. All of the cats were taken to the Sheriff’s Animal Care Center for evaluation. It was recently reported that since the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office took over management of the county’s local animal shelters last fall, euthanasia rates have gone from 31.5 percent to 21 percent of adoptable animals being put to sleep. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey is deeply upset, calling the conditions in which the cats were forced to live as unacceptable. This YouTube video shows a small dark unit, with multiple cats sitting in cramped cages, meowing for help, as authorities carefully remove the animals from their prison.
“With the many resources available in our area, there is no legitimate excuse for the hoarding of pets or maltreatment of animals that puts them at risk of suffering or death,” said Sheriff Ivey. Anyone with further information about this incident is asked to call Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Lt. Tom Young through the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 321-633-7162. It is unknown at this time how long the cats had been housed in the storage unit.
An experienced rescuer was able to visit with the cats on Thursday and Saturday evening and tells this Examiner that all the confiscated cats were in good health, with no outward signs of illness or URI (Upper Respiratory Infection), clean coats, no wounds, had good weight/body condition, and all were bright eyed and alert. Some were scared, others craving attention.
However, it is the opinion of the rescue that these cats are not in a much better situation now, at the shelter, than they were in the storage unit. According to their findings, when comparing the cages at animal services to those seen the BCSO YouTube video of the seizure, they are in the same style cages as Ms. Dvorak had them in the storage unit. They are in a room that frequently gets hot, though they have a fan blowing on them to offset some of the heat. In the rescue’s opinion, they went from one storage place to another. Some of the lucky ones were placed in cages throughout the shelter, but the majority are are now in one room not designed for cats.
If you are able to rescue or adopt any of the cats, please visit the County web page here for information, or visit them at 5100 W Eau Gallie Blvd, Melbourne, Florida. Their phone number is (321) 253-6608.