Seminole County seeks legal custody of 38 dogs seized before Thanksgiving

Owner of the dogs, Brandon Blake, was arrested on multiple charges of animal cruelty

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County is continuing to seek legal custody of 38 dogs that were seized from a home before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to confirm a petition filed in court to take ownership of the dogs, so they can eventually be put up for adoption. It will now be up to a judge to decide who would be the most appropriate owner of the dogs – the county, or the man they were seized from.

A search warrant obtained by News 6 details what investigators discovered at the property where the animals were found on East 20th Street in Sanford. A investigator writes four dogs appeared to have starved to death and others were “severely neglected.”

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Alan Harris, who supervises Seminole County Animal Services, calls it the worst case he has ever seen.

“This was the worst one,” Harris said. “It was very clear it was quite a while they had not been taken care of. It was very, very sad.”

Harris says the 39 dogs seized at the home had various medical issues including skin irritations and growths, and in some cases their bones were visible from malnourishment. Harris says one of the dogs died in front of him at the shelter.

“One of course passed away in front of me. We helped it because it was so sick and in pain, gasping for air,” said Harris.

The owner of the dogs, Brandon Blake, was arrested on multiple charges of animal cruelty, including four felony counts. The county also took away his kennel license.

News 6 attempted to reach Blake and his attorney Tuesday for an interview. Blake responded with several brief text messages saying he is fighting to keep his dogs.

At the Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, acting county attorney Paul Chipok said the reputed owner of the dogs could come back and request them to be released to his custody, but said that action has not been taken yet. Chipok noted the legal action taken by the county thus far has stalled that activity for the court to decide who should have custody of the animals.

The 38 dogs that remain at the shelter are currently in limbo until a judge makes a decision. Harris says they are being treated and receiving the veterinarian care that is needed.

“A lot of their skin irritations are starting to clear up a little bit,” said Harris. “They’ve got a long road ahead of them, but there has been some progress.”

The county tells News 6 there is also progress when it comes to clearing out the shelter to make more space for the dogs that are there. They have about 220 animals as of Tuesday morning. When they first took in the nearly 40 dogs from this case, they housed about 275 animals total.

Seminole County Animal Services is continuing $5 dog adoptions, all ages, for the month of December. You can see the dogs that are available at

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.