A woman was arrested this week after Brevard County Deputies discovered nearly two dozen cats in a self-storage unit at a CubeSmart facility in Merritt Island, Fla. Amy Lynn Dvorak, 43, was charged on Thursday with multiple counts of animal cruelty and improper confinement of animals, according to several sources.
The 23 cats were discovered after employees of the property at 115 Amsdell Road called deputies to report a foul odor. The felines were found in “deplorable” conditions, covered with feces and urine and without food, according to a police report. Although the 10-by-15 unit offered climate control, there was little ventilation, deputies said.
The animals were taken to an animal-care center to be evaluated, and the majority appeared to be in good condition, one source reported. Investigators believe the cats may have been in the unit nearly two weeks before being discovered. "They're all going to have to be evaluated, each on an individual basis," Cpl. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office told one source.
Just after her arrest, Dvorak told one source she was just trying to help the cats. "I don't think she's a habitual offender, she just didn't properly care for the animals,” Jacobs said.
“The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office’s Animal Care Centers and other local rescue partners work closely with our citizens to promote and encourage proper care for pets in our community,” Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a release. "With the many resources available in our area, there is no legitimate excuse for the hoarding of pets or maltreatment of animals that puts them at risk of suffering or death. In this particular case, there was no air-conditioning, ventilation or food for these helpless animals, and that is 100 percent unacceptable to me, our team and the community we serve.”
Dvorak is being held in the Brevard County Jail on $57,000 bond.
CubeSmart is a self-storage real estate investment trust that owns or manages 615 self-storage facilities across the United States. Headquartered in Malvern, Pa., its operating portfolio comprises 40.9 million square feet.