VERO BEACH — A 56-year-old man is suspected of leaving his dog at his home without sufficient food or water, deputies said. The home was filthy and had several rats, including a dead one.
Ronald Howell, of the 1300 block of 12th Avenue, was charged with abandonment of animal. He was released Thursday from the Indian River County Jail on $500 bail.
A deputy went to a home about 4 p.m. Thursday in the 1300 block of 12th Avenue in response to a search. The deputy got a tip that a man with active warrants was at the home.
After knocking on the front door with no answer, the deputy looked through a window and saw a dog inside the home, deputies said. The deputy also saw cobwebs on the ceiling and a large amount of dog feces on the ground.
When an animal control deputy also arrived, the two opened the front door and the dog came out of the home. The animal control deputy secured the dog while the first deputy went inside.
The deputy said the home had an “unbearable” smell and that there were mold-filled pots and pans placed on the floor to catch water dripping from roof leaks. The deputy saw one dead rat and six or seven live ones.
The deputy couldn’t find any fresh water in the home for the dog to drink.
The homeowner, later identified as Howell, drove to the home soon after and spoke with the deputy. Howell told the deputy he has owned the dog for five years and usually puts the dog inside when he leaves to do errands.
But, Howell could not explain why the house was messy and why the dog wasn’t receiving proper care. Howell was arrested and taken to the county jail for booking.