Child Found Living In Home With Over 300 Rats; Florida Woman Charged

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – A Florida woman is facing child neglect charges after a young girl was found living inside a home that was infested with over 300 rats, along with flies and cockroaches.

Charged is 38-year-old Shannon Marie Morgan a resident of Beverly Hills, Florida.

This is according to a news release from Citrus County deputies who visited the home.

The sheriff’s office said deputies initially went to Morgan’s home because of an animal cruelty complaint.

On arrival, the deputies said they immediately became “overwhelmed” by the smell of ammonia and found a “build up” of faeces, trash and rotten food, which created an infestation of flies and cockroaches.

“They initially observed several cages and glass aquariums containing snakes and rodents but also saw rats and cats running freely,” the news release said. “It was blatantly obvious; these animals were deprived of all their basic necessities”.

One of the rooms reportedly had 50 rats, with more than 300 running around freely, while a second bedroom was home to a ferret in a faeces-filled cage and a dog found inside a crate that authorities said was “entirely too small”.

The child was finally found in a third bedroom which authorities said was filled with trash, and where even the mattress was covered with roaches while the floor was blood stained from where one of the cats killed a rat.

Deputies said the infestation was also fuelled by trash, dirty dishes and rotten food, which was found throughout the home.

“Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated,” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. “The conditions of this residence and the animals, in this case, were so bad sheriff’s office personnel were cautioned about making entry. Neither children nor animals should ever endure this style of the environment”

Morgan was subsequently charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty and one count of child neglect. Her bond was set at $26,000.

Animal control officers have now removed seven cats, one dog, and one ferret from the home as authorities continue to investigate the living conditions at there. They are scheduled to return to the Beverly Hills house at a later date to remove all of the other animals.