Mother found living in ‘disgusting’ conditions with son faces child neglect, animal abuse charges, Brevard sheriff says

Kristen Willoughby, 26, faces charges of child neglect, animal cruelty

Kristen Willoughby, 26 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A woman is accused of keeping her 6-year-old son in a filthy hotel room with multiple pets, at least three of which were malnourished and emaciated, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Kristen Willoughby was booked into the Brevard County jail on Friday, Dec. 3.

“This woman shouldn’t be allowed to care for a pet rock, much less a 6-year-old child, 4 dogs, and 5 cats,” Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a social media post.

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According to the arrest affidavit, deputies with the sheriff’s office’s animal services unit were called to America’s Best Value Hotel at 180 S. Highway A1A in Satellite Beach on Nov. 23 after receiving a tip about animals living in deplorable conditions in a hotel room.

Investigators said they could smell ammonia coming from the room before the door was opened. Deputies said Willoughby, 26, was living in the room with her son. The room was covered in feces and garbage, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said they found four dogs and five cats inside the room. Three of the dogs were confined to a small cage with no food or water, which was caked in urine and feces which investigators described as “almost paste-like,” records show. The dogs inside the cage were severely malnourished and emaciated, according to deputies.

Investigators said the animals and the child were removed from the hotel room before the deputies left. The Department of Children and Families went to the hotel room, but according to the affidavit, did not continue its investigation after it was confirmed that the child was no longer in the hotel room.

The child was placed in the care of a family member; however, deputies said Willoughby retrieved the 6-year-old the next day.

“DCF was called to the scene and what a useless group that was,” Ivey said on social media. “Zero they did on this case. They didn’t even try to take the child from the mom.”

Investigators said Willoughby has a history of living in deplorable conditions with animals and her son dating back to 2018.

She now faces charges of child neglect without great bodily harm and animal cruelty. She is being held on a $60,000 bond.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and 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.