MILTON, Fla. (AP) - A Florida Panhandle judge sentenced a woman to a year and a day in prison for leaving six starving pets in her Gulf Breeze home
“They were my family. That’s all I had,” she told the judge. “Those were my kids.”
The Pensacola News Journal (http://on.pnj.com/1r22sR6 ) reports investigators found bags of dog food among the trash left in the home. Assistant State Attorney Jason English said accounts from neighbors who could hear the animals indicate they survived for about six months.
The judge and prosecutor agreed that the only logical conclusion was that someone had gone to the house to feed the animals.
“Someone knew these pets were in the house from April to October, and all the evidence points to her,” Simon said. “All you had to do is call someone on the phone. All you had to do was open the door. To allow them to die in this fashion is terrible.”
Officials say neighbors called animal services multiple times, but animal control workers weren’t able to enter the home without Phelps‘ permission, which was denied each time.
Eventually a sheriff’s deputy peered into a window, saw a dead animal and was able to obtain a search warrant.
Phelps continued to weep and say “I didn’t do it,” as she was led from the courtroom.
A sheriff’s deputy obtained a warrant to go inside after seeing a dead animal through a window.
Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com