Dog starved to death found in local apartment - Titusville Herald: News

Dog starved to death found in local apartment

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 5:00 am

A horrific scene was discovered Monday when the body of a dog which appeared to have been starved to death was found left in the apartment of an evicted tenant.

Susan Drake, the apartment’s manager, said that the medium-sized dog was found by cleaning crews in a cage covered with a blanket, as well as a rabbit corpse in a wooden crate. While she wasn’t sure exactly how long the dog’s body had been in the Hancock Way apartment, she estimated that it had been some time, as the body was beginning to show signs of decay, including maggot holes on the shoulder and leg area.

Drake did not name the tenant, as she is currently wanted by Titusville Police, but said that the tenant had been evicted earlier in the month due to late rent. Drake walked through the apartment on Monday, finding it in a severe state of disarray.

“It was completely filled with clutter and left behind junk,” Drake said.

There was a strong odor in the apartment, according to Drake, as well as swarms of flies. However, Drake assumed that the smell was caused by the mess, and was unaware of the animal bodies. Those were not discovered until the following day, when cleaning staff were called in to clear out the mess.

Drake said that one of her workers contacted her in tears Tuesday, having discovered the dog’s body after lifting up the blanket that covered the cage. Drake immediately contacted Titusville Police, and met them at the scene. The rabbit’s body was found while a search of the apartment was conducted.

“I’ve been in the rental business a long time, and that’s definitely a first,” Drake said. “Killing an innocent animal is just a little more than I can handle.”

The apartment is owned by Drake’s son, Jason Drake, though Susan Drake manages it. She said that the now-evicted tenant was already living in the apartment when the Drakes bought it last year.

According to Susan Drake, the tenant lived with her children for a while in the apartment, but said the children were taken away a couple months ago, and the tenant had been living alone for roughly two months.

While the Drakes were aware of the tenant owning a dog, they did not know its state of neglect until the discovery of the body. The Drakes had attempted, unsuccessfully, to charge a pet fee for the tenant after a neighbor informed them about the dog.

A collar was found on the dog’s body, but there were no associated tags, according to Susan Drake, who identified the dog from social media posts made by the tenant containing the canine. The dog and rabbit were buried out in the woods behind the apartment by neighbors, according to Susan Drake.

The Herald was unsuccessful in reaching Titusville Police for comment on this case. A police report listed the incident as “animal abuse Hancock Way” without giving further details.

Ray can be reached, by email, at sray@titusvilleherald.com.

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