57-year-old Sharon Cochran (PCSO)

Florida Woman Charged After Deputies Remove 35 Cats, 1 Dog, And An Elderly Woman From Her Home

57-year-old Sharon Cochran (PCSO)
57-year-old Sharon Cochran (PCSO)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigated an animal neglect and hoarder case in southwest Polk County, leading to an arrest.

On Thursday, December 28, 2023, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on Pope Lane off of Bethlehem Road in unincorporated southwest Polk County regarding a well-being check of an elderly woman.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they detected a strong odor of ammonia around and inside the home, and once inside, they observed feces throughout the house and over 30 cats inside. The deputies requested the PCSO Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit to respond.

Read: Florida Woman Charged After 309 Cats, Dogs, Ducks, Chickens And Peacocks Found In Her Trailer

Detectives responded to the scene and, upon arrival, made contact with the suspect, 57-year-old Sharon Cochran. Detectives observed that the residence floor was covered with feces, the air was tough to breathe, and multiple cats ran throughout the residence. 

Deputies say piles of trash and garbage were located throughout the residence, and several cats appeared to be underweight and in need of proper care.

One dog was also located in a bedroom of the residence that was also breathing the poor-quality air.

Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the residence and recorded an ammonia reading inside the residence of 15 ppm using an ammonia meter; 0 ppm is normal breathing air.

The air inside the residence was not fit for humans or animals to breathe or live in for any extended period of time. 

Detectives and Animal Control representatives removed one dog and 35 cats from within the house. Cat feces and roaches were in every room of the residence. 

Read: Florida Man Found Guilty In Horrific Animal Abuse Case

There were no litter boxes found. The air conditioning was non-operational, preventing a sufficient supply of air from circulating in the house.

Cochran was taken into custody and charged with 36 counts of animal neglect (M1).

Cochran is the sole caregiver of an 82-year-old woman with limited mobility; she was also charged with one count neglect of an elderly person (F3). The victim was relocated to family members.

This is the second case in a week where we have found a woman who, thinking she is helping, ended up hoarding animals. The victim is now in the care of other family members, and the animals are being examined by our Animal Control veterinary staff. It is our hope they will be rehabilitated and able to be adopted out to loving homes,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

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