Deputies seize dozens of dogs from breeder in Arcadia

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 8:52 PM EST
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ARCADIA, Fla. (WWSB) - The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office saved more than 80 animals from an Arcadia breeder on Tuesday.

On Oct. 28, Sgt. Kyle Paeplow received a call from a customer of Strawberry Farms, which claims to be “a husky paradise” on their website. This customer’s puppy had allegedly lost around five pounds while under the care of Rose Romano, one of the employees at Strawberry Farms.

The initial investigation found more complaints from previous employees, records of arrests in St. Petersburg, and a letter from a veterinarian who had to decline spaying one puppy because “she had wounds on her face... no palpable fat... ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible.”

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division. A warrant was issued to search the property.

On Tuesday morning, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and DeSoto County Animal Control seized 39 adult dogs, 19 puppies, and 26 other animals. Deputies said there was no sign of food or water and there were feces and urine everywhere.

“We have to do better as people,” said Sheriff James Potter. “These animals don’t deserve to live like this.”

Robert Polk, another employee at Strawberry Farms, was arrested at the scene and charged with 82 counts of neglect. An arrest warrant for neglect has been issued for Romano, as well as two felony counts of forging medical documents.

If you know the whereabouts of Romano, contact the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office at 863-993-4700.

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