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Lighthouse Point woman speaks after animal hoarding arrest

'I did the best I could to save them,' Linda Giaccio says of animals

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, Fla. – Linda Giaccio is facing jail time after more than 70 animals that appeared to be in distress were found in her home.

Of those animals, one was dead and others were sick as they were living in their own waste.

Now, Giaccio said that she was trying to save the dogs and cats that were in her care.

"Yes, I took too many in," Giaccio said. "I admit that."

Giaccio, along with her attorney Jordan Lewin, said she is against killing pets out of convenience.

She has kept animal food and veterinarian bills that date back years. When they were discovered in November, many of the animals that were found were in distress and were put down.

 "To turn around and kill all the ones that I rescued, I'm having a terrible time dealing with it," Giaccio said.

Giaccio said a combination of losing her job, getting ill and taking in too many animals in need led to the conditions.

She said she was evicted a few weeks prior from her Hollywood rental and forced back to a gutted Lighthouse Point home she owns.

"I can only justify that for 28 years my house was spotless. Anytime animal control or the police came in, it was always spotless and the animals cared for," Giaccio said. "I was sick. I couldn't physically do it myself and no one would come because I didn't have money to pay them."

Lewin added to Giaccio’s statement.  

"The spirit of this prosecution is almost outrageous," Lewin said. "They understand that she was an individual that became overwhelmed and had been taking care of pets for years."

Lewin and Giaccio are contending that Lighthouse Point has been targeting Giaccio for years because she didn't fit in to the well-manicured neighborhood.

"This is crazy," Giaccio said. "I'm being persecuted. I didn't hurt those animals. I did the best I could to save them."