OCALA, Fla. – Marion County Animal Services seized 31 dogs from a Marion County groomer and breeder, and investigators are now asking a court to stop her from owning any more animals.
According to court documents, animal service investigators executed a search and seizure warrant on May 11 at a business on NE 58th Ave.
Abed Aysheh told News 6 he and his father own the property, and they had just rented it to Kelli Jo Strabley, also known as Kelli Jo Allison, who was planning to open a dog grooming business. He said he called animal services.
“From the cracks of the windows, you can see kennels — dog kennels, cages — all lined up and from there, you can see 2-3 dogs in each cage,” Aysheh said. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is really bad.’ This is like big dogs in little cages.”
Aysheh shot cell phone video of the dogs being loaded into animal control vans.
“I watched every single dog, every single one that they pulled out from the building, and there are beautiful dogs,” he said. “It’s sad, you know. They didn’t look in the greatest shape. They were looking really sick and skinny, but beautiful dogs.”
Court documents show investigators seized 31 dogs that day, many of them were Goldendoodles ranging in age from 3 months to 9 years old.
They indicated several dogs “were found to be underweight and in need of basic care.”
According to the court documents, all of them were owned by Strabley.
News 6 first reported on Strabley in 2016 when a Brevard County couple claimed their dog was mauled to death at Strabley’s Merritt Island boarding center.
In 2021, the Florida Department of Health yanked her Brevard County business license after a dog was severely injured while being groomed.
Now, Marion County leaders are taking Strabley to court after seizing her dogs.
According to their petition, the county attorney wants to stop Strabley “from owning or possessing any animals without first seeking permission from the court.”
Strabley was not at her business when News 6 stopped by, and she did not respond to messages left seeking a comment.
“I think I feel like a hero for doing what I did,” Aysheh said.
What happens to the dogs?
Marion County Animal Services Director Jim Sweet said the seizure of the dogs is impacting the county’s animal shelter, which is already at capacity.
“Right now, it’s a challenge,” he said. “Most of the animals that we have in shelter are owned by somebody, and they just haven’t come by to get to pick up their pet and it’s a sad world at times.”
While he could not speak to Strabley’s case directly, as it is still an open case, he said the seized dogs are now in better condition.
Many of them, he said, will be assisted by rescue groups that help Marion County Animal Services.
“Those are their heroes, quite frankly. They step in, and they help alleviate the load at the shelter,” he said. “They also get these pups ready for their next phase of their life. It’s that permanent home somewhere and hopefully hanging out on someone’s couch, catching the ball. Everyone has a different style with their pet. Some people like to hang out with them.”
Sweet said people who are interested in adopting the dogs who were seized or any pet should come by Marion County Animal Services at 5701 SE 66th Street in Ocala.
The full interview between News 6′s Erik Sandoval and Marion County Animal Services can be viewed below: