Police: Couple had 200+ animals in home

Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:46 PM

OLDSMAR, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said they arrested a couple on child abuse and animal cruelty charges after finding more than 200 animals in their home.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said deputies were sent to the Oldsmar home of Jeffery O'Neil, 28, and Jennifer Kovacs, 26, at 6 a.m. Sunday to investigate a report of a missing 16-month-old girl who was in the couple's care.

Deputies arrived to find the couple appearing to be under the influence of alcohol and investigators discovered a note from a relative saying they had taken the child to their home because they were unable to wake O'Neil and the girl was crying.

However, deputies also discovered the couple were keeping more than 200 animals in their home, including seven Burmese pythons, 20 unidentified snakes, seven monitor lizards, about 100 bearded dragons, two deceased scorpion spiders, about 100 rats and mice, and undisclosed numbers of finch-birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, squirrels, hamsters, gerbils and hedgehogs.

The girl was found in good condition and is being cared for, the sheriff's office said.

O'Neil and Kovacs were arrested on charges of child abuse and animal cruelty.

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