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ORANGE PARK, FL – A multi-agency operation led to dozens of animals rescued from deplorable and inhumane conditions out of an Orange Park home. On Monday morning, Clay County Sheriff’s Office detectives served a search warrant at 246 Old Jennings Road. The warrant is the result of an investigation that started when CCSO deputies responded to a medical emergency call involving an adult who lived on the property. It was during this medical emergency call that deputies were able to legally enter the property, at which time they observed conditions that rose to a level that required additional investigation.

For the past several weeks the CCSO, in coordination with Clay County Animal Services, has been actively working on this investigation in an effort to determine what criminal charges potentially exist and the best possible response needed to ensure the safety of the home occupants, the first responders, and the animals onsite. “We’re glad to be able to get these animals the care they need,” Sheriff Michelle Cook said, “This is still very early in our investigation, and the results of that will determine any potential charges and arrests.”

Multiple agencies including our local, regional and state partners worked Monday to remove the dozens of animals from the home and transport them to the Clay County Fairgrounds for treatment and care.

Emergency Management Director John Ward said, “This operation will have many phases to it, with the first and foremost priority being the safety and security of our responders, staff, and animals. We have taken thorough precautions to protect responders from any hazardous substances on the property.”

The first phase is the collection of the animals, which is ongoing Monday. The second phase will be the intake, assessment, treatment, grooming, and assigning a crate and stall. This will be an ongoing process at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The third phase will be the 14-day quarantine period where the animals will be monitored for any potential diseases. The fourth phase will be determined pending the active investigation, as to when the animals can be released to the county and prepare to be spayed and neutered. The fifth phase will be to work with our community and animal rescue partners to prepare these animals for adoption and find their new safe homes.

Ward added, “This process will take several weeks to complete, and many resources will be needed. If you would like to volunteer or donate, please call 1-877-252-9362.”

The Chairman of the Clay County Board of County Commissioners Mike Cella said, “The Board of County Commissioners appreciates the strong partnership we share with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. We have been working closely with CCSO to identify issues of animal neglect in our community, and we will continue to do so. We will not tolerate animal neglect in Clay County.”

CEO Judson Sapp and Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook

Judson Sapp hosts Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook to discuss law enforcement issues. From the latest breaking news to cold cases, we answer the questions you have always wanted to ask. Tune in weekly!