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13-006 Over 100 Animals Found In Oldsmar Home; Couple Arrested For Child Abuse And Animal Cruelty

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau

SPCA

Florida Fish And Wildlife

Jeffrey O’Neil (Arrested)
DOB: 08/04/1984
Address: 206 Lee Street, Oldsmar
Arrested for child abuse and animal cruelty

Jennifer Kovacs (Arrested)
DOB: 08/04/1986
Address: 206 Lee Street, Oldsmar
Arrested for child abuse and animal cruelty

The victim is a 16 month-old girl, who was in the care of the suspects.  Per Florida Statute 119, no further information will be released that would tend to identify the victim.

What:
Over 100 animals, to include snakes, lizards, rats, mice, birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc were found in an Oldsmar home. The animals were located after deputies responded to the home, when the couple living in the residence reported a 16-month old girl missing. The child has been located in good condition and being properly cared for. The couple was arrested for child abuse and animal cruelty.

When:
Deputies responded to the home just before 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2013.

Where:
The residence is located at 206 Lee Street in Oldsmar.

Why/How:
Just before 6:00 a.m. on January 6, 2013, deputies responded to a call of a missing 16 month-old from the residence at 206 Lee Street in Oldsmar. 28-year-old Jeffrey O’Neil and 26-year-old Jennifer Kovacs reported that the child, whom they were caring for, had crawled out of the crib, opened the front door and had been missing for at least an hour.

When deputies arrived on scene they found the couple to be under the influence of alcohol. While on scene, a note was discovered from a relative who advised they had picked up the child and taken her to their home, because they could not wake O’Neil; and the child was crying. The child was located with the relative. She was in good condition and was properly being taken care of.

As deputies conducted this investigation, they discovered the home to be in deplorable conditions with over 100 animals in 88 cages. Deputies say the animals were being bred and sold without the proper licensing and conditions. SPCA was called to the scene to conduct their investigation and remove the animals from the home. FWC was also notified.

O’Neil and Kovacs were arrested for Child Abuse and Animal Cruelty and were transported to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident.

Animals identified so far include:
7 Burmese Pythons
20 Unknown Types of Snakes
7 Monitor Lizards
100 (Approx) Bearded Lizards
2 Scorpion Spiders (Dead)
100 (Approx) Rats and Mice
Finch-Birds
Rabbits
Guinea Pigs
Squirrels
Hamsters
Gerbils
Hedgehogs

Deputies say three rats and one hamster were found dead and half consumed by other animals kept in the house. The animals were kept outside and throughout the home. One of the lizards was believed to have burrowed in the backyard and was in the process of being located and removed.

The investigation continues.

 

Jeffrey O'Neil

 

 

Jennifer Kovacs

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