NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pasco County Animal Services put the brakes on a major animal hoarding case Wednesday. Officers seized 87 cats and dogs from a home at 9115 Teak Street in New Port Richey.
Sidney Strobeck lives in the home and was the one who called authorities. Strobeck said the homeowner, Patricia Abezis, hired him several years ago to take care of her animals, but they kept multiplying.
“Just got overwhelmed, it did,” Strobeck said. “She liked animals, and stuff. She didn’t want to get rid of any of them. It happens, you know?”
Animal control officers cited Strobeck and Abezis with civil animal cruelty. The case didn’t rise to the level of a criminal charge because most of the animals were well fed and in relatively good health.
The reason the animals were seized was because the ammonia level in the home made it dangerous for them. Animal Services Director Mike Shumate said officers couldn’t even enter the mobile home at first. The ammonia level was that high.
“They did an air quality test with emergency management and it literally blew the levels off the scale they were using,” Shumate said. “So we aired out the house and the officers went in and found out what the situation was in there.”
Authorities said Abezis was essentially trying to run her own shelter, taking in animals and trying to adopt them out. “And I’m not sure where she was getting her animals, local sources,” Shumate said. “Where a few animals got to 87, we really don’t know what went wrong there.”
Strobeck said he called animal services because he wants to make sure the animals find good forever homes. “At least I know now the animals will likely have good homes … once they get out of quarantine,” he said.
The dogs and cats are currently being checked out by animal services. Some are already adoptable. For more information you can log onto the county’s website at and click on animal services.