by PAT RAIA, [email protected]
More than 50 dogs are now the property of Hernando County Animal Services after their court-ordered removal from the Golden Kennel LLC in Brooksville.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Mike Terry said that earlier this month, Hernando County Judge Kurt Hitzemann ordered the 54 dogs belonging to Jian Karlos Ortiz-Mendez to be removed from the Golden Kennel LLC, 9203 Weatherly Rd. in Brooksville. Ortiz was formerly the operator of the Kennel.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office personnel removed the animals on June 8, Terry said.
Under Hitzemann’s ruling, Ortiz’s ownership of all his animals is terminated, and he is forbidden to own animals anywhere in Florida indefinitely.
The Court order stems from a March investigation by personnel from Hernando, Pasco, and Hillsborough County animal services, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the University of Florida who discovered the remains of 11 puppies illegally disposed of in a garbage can, and one obviously sick puppy lying on the floor of the Weatherly Road facility.
During the probe, investigators also received information that several puppies sold from the kennel had died of Canine parvovirus within days of their purchase.
At the time of the investigation, eight puppies were seized from the kennel and sent to a local veterinary facility for treatment. Another 138 adult dogs were left on the property in the care of kennel staff.
Ortiz was subsequently arrested and charged with 11 counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty and one misdemeanor count of Animal Neglect, stemming from a lack of water provided to kenneled dogs.
The Hernando County Animal Services revoked his kennel license.
Hitzemann’s ruling was the result of a Fitness Petition submitted by Hernando County Animal Services.
Ortiz’s criminal cases remain pending in Circuit Court.