20 dogs seized from 'deplorable' conditions at home
TAMPA - She had been warned before, many times. So when animal investigators came to Patricia Dickson's home Tuesday, they didn't hesitate in busting what they say was a puppy mill - dogs held in "deplorable'' conditions to produce puppies Dickson could sell. Workers from Hillsborough County Animal Services carried away 19 poodles and a chow from Dickson's home at 810 Lexington Blvd. Investigators said she had been forbidden to own dogs. Four of the dogs are 6-week-old puppies; the rest are adult dogs, agency officials said."Twenty dogs for this lady ... way too much," said Sgt. Pam Perry, manager of investigations for Animal Services. "She's living off the backs of animals and they were removed because of that." In February, a judge ordered Dickson, 76, not to own dogs after a series of infractions dating back to 2003. Some of the previous citations included improper confinement of animals and incomplete vaccinations and tags, agency officials said. "The judge told her at that time no more animals other than the three cats that you have," Perry said. "She's in violation of a court order as well." Some of the dogs have medical problems, including hair loss and problems walking. They are being housed at the county shelter at 440 Falkenburg Road North. "Yes, I've seen worse," Perry said. "But it was bad enough that the animals needed to be taken away from her and that's why we did this." This is the third time Animal Services has confiscated dogs from breeders in just two weeks, said Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan. The agency has confiscated 285 animals in December alone and has made 115 arrests over in 2009 for animal-related crimes, she said.