Saturday, January 14, 2017

Florida: Eleven dogs seized; Tiny Tharpe, Joshua Tharpe and Tabitha Gordon arrested for animal cruelty

Full name: Tiny Elizabeth Tharpe
White female
DOB: 01/06/1964
Arrest age: 53
Charge: Animal Cruelty
Bond: $1,000

Full name: Tabitha Christina Gordon
White female
DOB: 07/13/1989
Arrest age: 27
Charge: Animal Cruelty
Bond: $1,000

Full name: Joshua Scott Tharpe
White male
DOB: 11/06/1985
Arrest age: 31
Charge: Animal Cruelty
Bond: $1,000

FLORIDA -- Three people are under arrest after a Hernando County animal enforcement officer noticed several dogs without care in a yard.

About 1:30 p.m. Jan. 4, Officer Mandy Rowe was leaving an unrelated call when she passed by 18025 Nicholas Ave. in Garden Grove, according to the sheriff's office.

Rowe saw dogs that were tethered to a tree in the yard, an ordinance violation, and she stopped to check on the animals with Deputy Steven George. They saw three tethered dogs, and one of them was in distress.


Rowe and George approached the house and saw a small wire cage with three Chihuahuas near the front door. The dogs did not have water and it appeared someone had just dumped food in the cage.

The officers located another small wire cage near the front door with a dog in it that appeared to be a pit bull, also without water. This dog was lying in its own urine and feces.


Tabitha Gordon answered the door and said the dogs belonged to Tiny Tharpe, her mother-in-law.  Gordon stated that her husband, Joshua Tharpe, helped to care for the dogs, but was not at home.  Gordon gave George and Rowe permission to walk around the property to check on the dogs.

George and Rowe went to the east side of the property to the dog that appeared to be in distress.  They found a female hound or possible pit bull mix named Bella huddled on the ground and lying on shards of glass.  The dog appeared to be malnourished and lethargic.

Bella was in very poor condition.  Her ribs and shoulder blades were showing. Her left eye was swollen and had a green and yellow discharge coming from it. She did not move and appeared to have trouble even lifting her head when George and Rowe approached.  There was no food or water for the dog.  A metal cooking pot that was used for water was nearby; it was dry and had leaves in the bottom.

There was a black pit bull tethered to a tree behind Bella.  This dog had no food, water, or proper shelter.

A brown-and-white pit bull mix was tethered near the black pit bull and was very thin, with its ribs showing.  Again, the dog had no food, water or proper shelter.


All of the dogs appeared to be infested with fleas and covered in flies. There was garbage and the odor of rotting food, urine, and feces all over the property.

After checking all the dogs, George and Rowe went back to Tabitha Gordon and again she said that her husband helps to care for the dogs, and he wasn't home.

Gordon made no attempt to take corrective action and appeared to have no concern for the safety and health of the dogs. She said he would be home soon and went back inside.

Rowe determined that all the animals were being mistreated.  She believed, that Bella especially, was close to death and needed immediate medical attention. She determined they would have to be seized without delay and transported to Hernando County Animal Services.

In total, 11 dogs were seized from the property.

Upon checking with Dr. Julie Rosenberger, the veterinarian at Hernando County Animal Services, George learned that in her training and experience that Bella was criminally neglected.  Bella weighed 33 pounds upon intake and should have weighed about 45 pounds.

She stated the dog was malnourished and extremely anemic from blood loss, due to thousands of fleas that she was infested with.  Bella's body temperature was so low she required a heating pad to keep her alive.

Bella’s body condition on a scale of 1-9 was a “2” at intake. A score of “1” was explained to be the worst, where death is immediate. Dr. Rosenberger advised that Bella was probably sick for one month, possibly two. Dr. Rosenberger also stated that Bella would have been dead within three days, had she not received emergency medical treatment when she did.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of Tabitha Gordon, Tiny Tharpe, and Joshua Tharpe.

George returned to the address Monday to serve the arrest warrants. All three individuals were arrested and charged as follows:

-- Tabitha Christina Gordon, 28, was charged with animal cruelty.

-- Tiny Elizabeth Tharpe, 52, was charged with animal cruelty.

-- Joshua Scott Tharpe, 31, was charged with animal cruelty.

All of the dogs remain at Hernando County Animal Services.

(10News - Jan 10, 2017)

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