Gulf Breeze woman pleads no contest for leaving pets to starve

[media-credit id=18 align=”alignright” width=”240″]nPhelps mug[/media-credit]A woman who abandoned her home on Winding Shore Drive in Gulf Breeze has pleaded no contest for leaving six cats and dogs in the residence without food or water for several months.

In November 2012, Toni Amaro Phelps, 41, was arrested after several complaints led officers to find decaying animal carcasses in the home, according to a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Phelps was charged with six counts of felony causing cruel death, pain or suffering to an animal, six counts of misdemeanor abandonment of an animal and one count of misdemeanor nuisance injurious to health. She will be sentenced April 16 and faces a year and a day in prison.

Code compliance officers responded to the residence that was supposed to be vacant and in foreclosure first in October 2012 and again Nov. 6, 2012.

The arrest report said that the officer discovered an odor of decayed flesh and feces and observed through the sliding glass doors of the home a dead black cat, a dead brown dog and an empty bird cage.

Phelps was contacted and told the condition of the residence, but said that her five dogs were with her and not at the residence.

After Phelps consented to a search warrant, three dead cats, a dead miniature Schnauzer and two Yorkshire terriers were found.

Phelps was a former employee of Animal Hospital in Tiger Point and Wynn Haven Animal Clinic in Mary Esther but was fired for suspected drug affiliations and theft, according to the arrest report.

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