Local News

Three dead birds, dead cat found at suspected hoarder's Oviedo house

OVIEDO - Days after Highlands County deputies arrested a woman after finding 45 neglected animals in a house filled with feces and fleas, police in Oviedo found three dead birds and a dead cat in a house owned by the woman in this Orlando-area town. Michelle A. Brown, 59, 1029 Ward Drive, Oviedo, was charged in Highlands County with 45 counts of felony animal neglect. But she will face no additional charges in Oviedo, according to a police incident report obtained Wednesday. "Based on Brown's statement regarding the deceased animals and what was observed inside her residence, I am unable to prove Brown intentionally tormented, deprived them of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilated them," the report said. The report said that during a telephone conversation Brown told an investigator that she believed the birds died from cold temperatures earlier that year after the electricity was shut off. She had also said that between dealing with her ill, elderly parents she couldn't stay at the house and that resulted in the shutoff.
She had no explanation for the dead cat, but said that she had moved other animals with her. Oviedo went to Brown's house after being notified that Brown was arrested on Aug. 13 in Highlands County. "Upon looking through the windows, I was able to observe mounds of miscellaneous items and trash," the report said. "There was also an abundance of what appeared to be animal excrement over every visible surface." "The residence appeared to be infested with cockroaches and other insects crawling both on the interior and the exterior of the windows and walls," the report added. "I also observed signs of rodent habitation in and around the house. There were numerous bird cages that appeared to be vacant, but contained up to approximately 6 inches of waste collected at the bottom of each cage." Neighbors told police that they had not seen Brown since February. Although subsequently Brown agreed that Oviedo police could search her residence, when they arrived the air quality was so bad that they had to ventilate it and officers wore gas masks. jmeisel@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5834