Saturday, June 5, 2010

James Odom, Haines City, Florida (Polk)

Polk inmates take care of seized animals

The Polk County Sheriff's Office confiscated more than 300 animals this week, and that's taking a sizable bite out of the animal control department's budget.

Sheriff Grady Judd has roughly doubled the number of inmates working at the facility to offset the financial impact from two huge seizures in a week. About two dozen Polk County jail inmates are now paying their debts to society by working around the clock to assist the animals.

Photo Gallery: Another large animal seizure

"They need to pay their debt to society," says Sheriff Judd. "They violated the law and they stole and they took things from society and now they're paying it back."

Cornelius Williams is one of the inmates.

"We water the dogs, feed the dogs, bathe the dogs... you know, when they have appointments, we take them back and forth to the vet," he says, explaining his responsibilities.

Williams doesn't get paid in cash, but says he is profiting from the experience, gaining confidence and a sense of responsibility...." More & video

58 animals seized from home in Polk County

Eric Glasser

Another day, another massive animal seizure in Polk County.

On Wednesday night, deputies confiscated 58 animals from a house belonging to James Odom of Haines City. That comes on top of 260 animals seized a few days ago in an unrelated case.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd says they got a tip and found the animals living in deplorable conditions at Odom's house. Odom is now facing criminal charges.

Photo Gallery: Another large animal seizure

Polk County Animal Care and Control is being pushed beyond its limits -- working 24/7 to care for the animals -- even using trustees from the county jail to offset the increased expense.

Sheriff Judd issued an urgent plea, asking area shelters and rescue groups to do what they can to help.

The sheriff says they welcome the opportunity to save the animals, they just wish it wasn't quite so many at the same time.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control section is designed to accomodate 375 animals. Right now, there are 748 animals at the facility.

At least 120 animals at the shelter are in good enough condition to be immediately adopted..." More & video

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