Dead dogs, kittens found in garbage bags; others starved or emaciated by homeowner

An Altamonte Springs homeowner was arrested this week after police found that she was storing dead dogs and kittens in garbage bags, as well as starving a collection of emaciated dogs, birds, and cats inside a home that was covered in feces, urine, and roaches.

According to an arrest report filed in Seminole County court, Seminole County Animal Services contacted local police to conduct a well-being check on animals under the care of Tonya Grose. Animal services staff told police that they had been trying to see the animals under Grose’s care, but that she “kept cancelling every appointment they had with her.”

Officers visited Grose’s home at 818 Ballard Street on Wednesday, September 20.

Upon their arrival, the officers noted a “distinct and extremely pungent odor of urine and feces” from the roadway outside of Grose’s home.

As officers approached the home, Grose met them outside and told them that there were six dogs, three cats, and two birds inside the residence.

Emaciated dogs cared for by Tonya Grose

The report notes that officers entered the home and noticed “feces on the ground” and several cages with dogs who did not have water or food in their dog bowls, as well as “cockroaches all over the floor and spiderwebs in the light fixtures.”

Grose initially did not allow officers to enter her back room, where she kept her birds, explaining that it was “disorganized and cluttered” with her ex-husband’s belongings. Grose brought each bird cage out to police, who noted that they were “filled with roaches and bird feces.”

While speaking with Grose, animal services officials heard dogs barking in the backyard of the home. After getting permission from Grose to enter the backyard, officers noticed several dogs in cages that looked “malnourished and were panting.”

Emaciated dog cared for by Tonya Grose

Inside a shed in the backyard, officers found several dogs in cages, noting that the shed was “hot” and had “no ventilation.” Inside a separate shed, officers noticed multiple black, garbage bags that had the “smell of animal death.”

When questioned, Grose told authorities that the bags contained “clothes from a church” where she volunteered.

After removing the bags from the shed, Grose admitted to officers that they contained “six dead dogs, some kittens, and cats.” She told authorities that she usually “buries the animals that die in the backyard,” but could not do so and, instead, put them “in garbage bags in the shed.”

Tonya Grose
Tonya Grose

During an interview with ASPD detectives, Grose told authorities that she did not have “money or food” to properly care for the animals.

Grose was arrested a short time thereafter and transported to the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford. She has been charged with five counts of cruelty to animals and is being held on $10,000 bond, according to court records.

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