‘Pungent odor:’ Woman arrested after dozens of animals found in cruel conditions at Florida home

Altamonte Springs police ask public to adopt animals

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – A woman was arrested on Wednesday after over two dozen animals were recovered from her home, according to the Altamonte Springs Police Department.

Police said they responded to the home along Ballard Street on Wednesday after Seminole County Animal Services requested a welfare check.

Upon arrival, they met with the resident — identified as 36-year-old Tonya Grose — and officers could smell the “pungent odor of urine and feces coming from inside the residence,” according to a release from the ASPD.

Investigators said they found emaciated dogs in cages without food or water, birds in cages filled with feces and cockroaches, and several cats inside the home. Over 40 animals were surrendered to Seminole County Animal Services.

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Even more caged malnourished dogs were found in the backyard, and some were even found locked in a shed on the property, police said. The release shows that there was no ventilation, despite the hot temperatures.

Officers added that a “powerful odor” came from a second shed, and a dog’s skeleton was found on the ground. There were also 15 large trash bags inside that shed that held decomposing animal remains, according to police.

“She had them out there in the heat like I mentioned earlier there were bones that were recovered, various animals in garbage bags, that’s no way to treat an animal. They are part of the family so it’s just horrible,” Michelle Montalvo with Altamonte Springs police said.

Pictures taken of police presence along Ballard Street on Wednesday (Douglas Walsh)

Millie Mehan lives nearby and said the details of the case are disturbing.

“It makes you want to cry. It makes you want to cry. How can somebody be so cruel,” Mehan said.

“My mind goes evil. It’s just evil I don’t understand why or how someone is so sick to be able to do that and why,” Mehan said.

Grose was taken into custody and faces five counts of animal cruelty, though police said that more charges are pending the results of the investigation. She is currently held on bond of $10,000.

The animals recovered from the property are in the care of SCAS for veterinary evaluation but due to the large number of animals being surrendered, the shelter is now over capacity.

“This influx of animals has stressed an already full shelter with dozens of animals that are yet unavailable for adoption being moved offsite in an agreement with a local boarding facility. Staff is also getting creative in splitting kennel runs and pairing adoptable animals together to save space,” the county said in a release.

Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said the shelter was already over capacity when the animals came in.

“What we are asking from everyone is considering adopting an animal. This may be the opportunity to come down to Seminole County Animal Services and adopt an animal,” Harris said.

Click here to check out Animal Services.

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About the Authors:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!