Florida puppy mill busted, more than 80 animals rescued

Huskies rescued from a DeSoto County dog breeder. (Courtesy: DeSoto County Sheriff's Office)

DESOTO COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly 60 dogs were rescued from a DeSoto County dog breeding business on Tuesday.

DeSoto County Sheriff’s deputies received a complaint from a customer of “Strawberry Farms… a Husky Paradise “ late last month, expressing concern about the condition of her puppy who lost five pounds while under the care of the owner of the business, Rose Romano.

An investigation by sheriff’s deputies also found complaints from previous employees, arrests out of St. Petersburg and even a letter from a local veterinarian who had to decline spaying one puppy because “she had wounds on her face… no palpable fat… ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible.”

On Tuesday morning, deputies and DeSoto County Animal Control officials seized 39 adult dogs, 19 puppies and 26 other animals from deplorable conditions. According to deputies, there was no food or water in sight and there was feces and urine everywhere.

Husky puppies rescued from a DeSoto County dog breeder. (Courtesy: DeSoto County Sheriff's Office)

Robert Polk was arrested at the scene and faces 82 counts of neglect.

A warrant has been issued for Rose Romano for the same, as well as two felony counts of forging medical documents.

If you know the whereabouts of Rose Romano, contact the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office at 863-993-4700.


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Veronica Crespo writes for Local10.com and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.