Florida rescue owner facing charges after ‘deplorable’ conditions found

The owner of a Florida-based animal rescue has been arrested and is facing 25 charges for animal cruelty following the discovery of “deplorable” conditions at the rescue agency. The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release about the arrest, writing:

On Wednesday, January 13, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) officials arrested Out of the Box Animal Rescue owner, 56-year-old Robert Allan Schweickert Jr., on 25 counts of cruelty to animals with additional charges pending.

According to the authorities, Schweickert failed to correct citations relating to “inadequate kennel sizes and inhumane housing of animals.” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said:

“Under the guise of a rescue, these precious animals suffered in deplorable conditions because of one man’s refusal to provide the basic, minimum requirements of care. Thank you to our resilient Animal Control Officers who work diligently to protect our animal friends here in Citrus County. And thank you to those citizens who had the courage to speak up and get these animals the help they needed.”

The release outlines the conditions that the animal control officers observed at the rescue property:

Violations on scene included: the failure to meet county ordinance regarding kennel space of 80 sq. ft. per dog required, several kennels left outside in the elements with no coverage while other small kennels were found with corrugated roofs and tarps wrapped around the entire kennel – drastically restricting the airflow to the animal, and kennels with wood or particleboard floors that were urine saturated, rotten, with large holes gaping open. Several dogs need medical care and were infested with fleas.

Describing some of the most disturbing conditions:

Some of the most disturbing conditions discovered included dogs locked inside bathrooms with no windows or lights, with urine covered floors. Sadly, one dog was found living in an old walk-in freezer type unit that doubled as a storage room. The unit was similar to the box of a moving van – completely metal, no windows, no electricity, and no ventilation. The door to the unit was closed and locked with the poor animal inside.

Officials removed 43 dogs, a hen and a pig from the property.

Follow the National Animal News Facebook page for more news, updates and petitions.


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