When Hernando County Sheriff's deputies came out to investigate an abandoned U-Haul left outside a Publix in Spring Hill, Florida, they could already hear screaming before they opened the door. Once inside they found 50 cats and three dogs inside the simmering hot metal truck. The animals were individually stored in plastic containers similar to Tupperware.
Though, the driver was no where to be found. According to WTSP, after an investigation, they determined that Frances Evans had rented out the truck. Evans, 50, was already the subject of an investigation into animal hoarding. A court had previously ordered her to hand over the animals to officials in neighboring Pasco County.
Authorities believed that Evans may have loaded the animals up in the truck and drove them out of the county in order to avoid giving them up.
However, Hernando County Animal Services staff said the animals were in deplorable condition. All of the cats had health problems that ranged from flea infestations to respiratory infections. Thirty-nine of the 50 cats had to be euthanized as a result. The three dogs are still under evaluation.
Evans was eventually located and arrested. She's been charged with 53 counts of animal abandonment and is also slated to be charged with 53 counts of animal abuse. Her bond will be set at $26,500.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.