Arcadia dog breeder wanted on neglect charges found in Virginia

Two of the Husky pups seized from a breeder in Arcadia.
Two of the Husky pups seized from a breeder in Arcadia.(DeSoto County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 1:29 PM EST
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ARCADIA, Fla. (WWSB) - A dog breeder from Arcadia wanted on neglect charges after allegedly abandoning 80 dogs last month has been arrested in Virginia, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office said.

Rose Romano, an employee of Strawberry Farms in Arcadia, has been arrested in Salem, Virginia, and will be extradited back to Florida, authorities said.

On Oct. 28, deputies received a call from a customer of Strawberry Farms, who claimed their puppy had allegedly lost around five pounds while under the care of Romano.

An 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.”

A search warrant was executed on the property. Deputies and DeSoto County Animal Control officers 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.

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

Since the seizure, the sheriff’s office has received many calls about the rescued animals. “They are getting A LOT of love and care!” at Animal Control, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

It also posted a list of items Animal Control could use to help care for the dogs, including dog food, toys, treats, blankets and cleaning supplies.

Items can be sent or delivered to DeSoto County Animal Control, 2048 NE McKay Street, Arcadia, FL 34266.

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