Dead dogs found in home; owner charged

By Chuck Weber email

FT. PIERCE, FL (WFLX)-Deputies raided a home near Ft. Pierce finding three dogs dead, and more than a dozen other animals-- many without food or water, sitting in waste. The animals' owner is charged with animal cruelty.

A crime scene video released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, shows many of the disturbing conditions and discoveries. "Two ferrets, no water," an investigator is heard saying. Rib cages showed through on at least three of the dogs.

Deputies charged Michele Nunziata with six felony counts of animal cruelty, 10 misdemeanor counts, and one count of not having the special permit needed to have a wolf. The arrest report says Nunziata had euthanized the three dogs herself this past weekend.

The living animals seized from the property included two cockatiels, two ferrets, two rabbits, one chinchilla and a goose. The critters are now at the shelter of the Humane Society of St. Lucie County. "It's awfully hard to see animals coming in, just skin and bones," said Frank Andrews, the shelter's director.

Nunziata bonded out of the St. Lucie County Jail Monday afternoon. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.