Susan Lyons sensed something was wrong at her next-door neighbor's New Port Richey home.
"About three weeks ago, I noticed the dogs in the house and they were whining. I hadn't seen them outside in awhile in the backyard," Lyons said Friday.
Her neighbor normally kept to herself, but when a strong smell started seeping from next door, Lyons called the cops.
Deputies were shocked by what they found: two dead dogs and one, barely hanging on to life. The dogs were locked inside the abandoned home with no food, water, light, or air conditioning.
"Our people see horrific things day in and day out, but this is one of those situations where someone intentionally let this go on," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Friday.
Firefighters actually had to put on protective suits before entering the filthy home. Inside, they found the bodies of a Labrador-mix and a German Shepard. The lone survivor, a female Rottwiler named Sasha, cowered inside.
"The one dog that was still alive came out and she wouldn't come out of the window. So I got some water and some chicken breast, I was cooking chicken, and they lured her out. She was very skinny, very dehydrated, very shaky. Her eyes were all matted over with puss," Lyons said.
Deputies tracked down the dog's owner, 48-year old Micki Schratwieser, at her work down the road. Deputies say she admitted to abandoning the dogs for several weeks.
"She said once one dog had died, she freaked out and she left," Nocco said.
Neighbors say there's no excuse. They're heartbroken over what was happening behind closed doors.
"Open the front door and let them run! At least they'd have a chance. Leave them in the backyard, someone would notice them. But to just lock the house and leave them to die?" Lyons said.
The one surviving dog, Sasha, is being treated by Pasco County Animal Services. Schratwieser was arrested and is now facing felony animal cruelty charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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