2 dogs, 8 cats pulled from filthy, infested van, Brevard deputies say

Man, woman face animal cruelty charges

BCSO: Dog rescued from filthy, hot car in Cocoa (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A man and a woman face animal cruelty charges after a deputy rescued two dogs and eight cats from a filthy, hot car, according to an arrest report from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Maryann Gattuso, 65, and Russell Kaupp, 75, were arrested Wednesday in Nicol Park off North Highway 1 in Cocoa.

According to the report, a deputy noticed a dog in a cage inside a locked van. The windows were cracked slightly but the dog was directly in the sunlight and the temperature was 90 degrees that day, deputies said.

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The deputy said the dog was in distress. He located Gattuso and asked her to open the vehicle to let the dog out. She refused at first, but eventually gave the keys to Kaupp, who opened up the van and let the dog out, records show.

The deputy asked Gattuso to hand over the dog while they waited for animal services to arrive, but the woman refused and resisted attempts by the deputy to take the dog, the report said. The woman pushed and kicked the deputy but was eventually restrained with the help of a second deputy and passerby, records show.

Investigators said the deputies searched the van further, finding that it was full of trash and insect-infested. Deputies said they also found eight cats and a second dog — all in locked crates inside the van.

Gattuso faces 10 counts of animal cruelty and resisting an officer with violence. Kaupp faces 10 counts of animal cruelty and resisting an officer without violence.

(Left) Russell Kaupp, 75 (Right) MaryAnn Gattuso, 65 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.