Betty Armstrong, 70, is accused of keeping the cats locked inside without enough food or water since July.
Armstrong says when the air conditioning broke down in July, she moved out to a nice, clean, air-conditioned motel and supposedly came back to this hell hole "every few days" to care for the animals before shutting them inside to die and going back to her clean motel room.
Can you imagine how boiling hot it was inside this house, with all the windows and doors closed, no air conditioning and deathly levels of ammonia?? Betty Armstrong's punishment should be to be locked inside this house - just like she locked these cats inside this house to die.
From the police report:
"One deceased cat was located in the front side bedroom. Eight deceased cats were located in the master bedroom. Cat urine and feces were located all over the house and furnishings. There was no water located in any part of the residence and only sparse amounts of food located throughout..."
Tensions in her neighborhood are high over exactly who is to blame -- some neighbors say Armstrong would never have intentionally let the cats die.
Neighbors say Armstrong was always here feeding and trying to take care of them, but others do not see it that way.
Frustrated residents argued in front of Action News Jax cameras.
"I have no disrespect for you, but don’t sit there and talk to me about something you don’t know," Edward Gomez said to another neighbor. "You don’t deal with the smell next door in our house. We can’t even open our windows or turn the AC on because of the smell.”
Gomez, who lives next door to Armstrong, says the smell is unbearable.
"You go spend a night over there in my living room, and tell me what you have to say about it after that," Gomez said. "Cause it’s nasty.”
Barrie Maddox sees it differently. She says Armstrong loved her cats and always fed them, along with any strays around the home.
Maddox said she knew Armstrong was struggling to take care of her cats, but never thought it would lead to this.
“If those cats starved to death, she did not do that intentionally," Maddox said. "She might not have been feeding them enough or she might have just gone bonkers from all the stress in her life.”
Court documents obtained by Action News Jax say Armstrong told deputies almost all the cats were dead by November. She told them she was scared of getting in trouble, so she never told anyone.
Stop lying, Betty. You could have opened your doors and let them escape. Instead, you locked them in to die while you moved to a nice, clean air-conditioned motel room.
(CBS47 - Dec 22, 2016)