Thursday, September 2, 2010

Officials confiscate 63 animals from southwest home

By Austin L. Miller

Marion County Animal Services confiscated 63 cats, a parrot and a golden retriever from a Southwest Ocala home Wednesday. The 54-year-old homeowner was transported to a local mental health treatment facility under the Baker Act.

Deputy Daryle Greene met two animal control officers at the BP gas station at West State Road 40 and Southwest 80th Avenue. The officers told him they had a search and seizure warrant for the animals at the residence in Thoroughbred Acres.

The deputy followed the animal officials to the double-wide mobile home, where they attempted to contact Merry Wichman, 54. When reached by phone, she told officials she was at work and it would be best if they came back Thursday.

The animal officials told Wichman she did not need to be present for them to seize the animals. They called a locksmith.

As they tried to enter the mobile home, Wichman came out of the residence, saying she had just gotten home.

According to Elaine DeIorio, Animal Program Coordinator for Marion County Animal Services,

The felines were Maine coon-type cats that Wichman bred and sold the via They were housed inside in a patio room and outside in the yard. Several 5-foot by 4-foot chain link cages housed nine to 17 cats each. Feces, dirt and dust covered the home and patio..." More

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