Two charged with cruelty to cats

OKEECHOBEE — After being evicted from the home they were renting, a couple was arrested on charges of causing cruel death, pain and suffering when the homeowner reportedly found 14 neglected and five dead cats buried under mountains of garbage inside the home. The dead cats were found in various stages of decay, ranging from bones to maggot infestation.

Craig Michael Martin

The homeowner reported the home was in such disarray she had to hire someone to haul the trash out, and the home was so full of garbage, she was only able to access the area near the front door. The entire home was covered with cat urine and feces, she reported. After one day of cleaning and disposing of garbage in a 30-yard dumpster, only the living room and kitchen had been cleaned but the dumpster was full.

Heather Rose Perry

The tenants, Heather Rose Perry, 40, and Craig Michael Martin, 33, who were both in the Okeechobee County Jail at the time of the report on unrelated charges, did not appear to have been living in the home due to the amount of garbage and feces, the report noted. The homeowner reported there were no bowls of water, food or litter boxes set out for the cats.

Both Perry and Martin were arrested July 16 by OCSO Sgt. Arlene Durbin and charged with causing cruel death, pain and suffering of animals. Bond was set at $1,500 each. The incident was reported on June 14 but the cleanup was still underway as of July 16, according to the report.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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