FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The partner of a man facing more than 180 charges in connection with a puppy mill authorities said they discovered after a drug raid is now facing roughly the same number of charges herself.
Authorities said Sean Christopher Brodnax, 29, was running an illegal puppy mill and trafficking a significant amount of drugs at a home he shared with his partner, Danielle Palladino, and their children.
Authorities arrested Palladino, also 29, on Thursday on a host of animal cruelty charges, including practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
Puppy mill allegations
At around noon on Sept. 13, Davie police, Broward County deputies, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Brodnax’s trailer, located at 490 SW 132nd Ave. in the Western Hills Manufactured Home Community. Surveillance video from a neighbor’s house shows Brodnax struggling with an officer after he was taken into custody.
Inside, officers reportedly found the drugs they were looking for: a trafficking amount of fentanyl pills and approximately a kilo of cocaine powder mixed with fentanyl. But they also found about 25 French bulldog-pit bull mixes, many of which were in extreme distress.
According to an arrest report, officers first encountered three of the dogs on a screened-in patio. Police said one of the dogs, a female tri-color English Bully mix, was “clearly in distress” with “explosive diarrhea and extreme trouble breathing, possibly on the verge of a heat stroke.”
None of the dogs had proper food and water. They said Broadnax did provide them a fan, but it failed to keep them cool.
Police said officers found more dogs inside.
“Aside from the issue of the respondents, who are both residents of this trailer, keeping dogs in inhumanely small cages, the cages themselves were also unsanitary, filled with feces, smelled, and had no bedding on the floor of the cages,” Broadnax’s arrest report states.
Palladino faces judge; relative defends couple
Facing a Broward County judge Friday, Palladino’s attorney made a case for Palladino that the police claims were exaggerated.
“I don’t see any difference these dogs were kept from how they were kept at a pet store,” her attorney said. “This is just over aggressive by the sheriff’s office and just piling on.”
A woman who said she’s a family member of the couple defended them outside their Davie trailer Friday.
“He has hundreds of trophies,” the woman said. “He takes good care of those dogs. This is ridiculous.”
She also denied allegations of drug trafficking.
“That has nothing to do with them,” the woman said. “We don’t know how that got in this house.”
“Every single neighbor talked about this house being a drug house,” Local 10 News reporter Andrew Perez asked. “Every single one.”
“That’s not what’s going on that’s just because he deals with dogs and everybody is involved with dogs,” she replied.
She said the home is a family home and that children are involved. She also said it’s a big family eager to prove this case in court.
“I don’t care what that neighbor says, that neighbor, that neighbor, it looks like that because there’s dogs involved,” the woman said. “So whatever’s going on, we will be proving that that’s not true.”
Palladino was given a bond of more than $130,000 on 170 charges and remained held in the Broward Main Jail as of Friday afternoon.
Brodnax remained held at Broward’s Joseph V. Conte Facility on the same bond as of Friday.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office has filed a formal petition to keep the seized dogs. If that goes through, the dogs will be adopted out.