Pinellas Animal Control said Friday they seized nearly 30 dogs that were living in a filthy St. Petersburg home.

  • Home located on 2000 block of 69th Avenue S.
  • Animal Control: Owner was operating nonprofit shelter
  • Residents given 7 days to vacate building

Animal Control personnel took a total of 28 dogs from a home on the 2000 block of 69th Avenue South. They also took photos of the conditions in which the animals were living inside the home, photos showing puppies in a soiled crate and dog feces on the home's floor.

The home's owner, Rose Romano, was running a nonprofit shelter out of her home called "Happy Hounds Rescue," according to Animal Control Director Doug Brightwell. Romano reportedly took in stray animals from all over Florida and Georgia.

Neighbors told us that sometimes the dogs would escape.

"A couple of weeks ago, 12 dogs roaming up and down the street," said resident Michael Brendla. "It was just a crazy, ridiculous scene."

The City of St. Petersburg declared the home unfit for human habitation, and gave the residents, Romano and her two children, seven days to vacate the building. Even with all the dogs taken away, a strong odor still emanates from the house, one neighbors can smell even from the street.

"You walk by the house and it just reeks," Brendla said. "Just a real bad ammonia smell coming out of it. It's just, I'm not surprised to see what happened here today."

Another neighbor, Marc Stratton, expressed relief that the city had taken action.

"I'm glad to see it happening, to tell you the truth," Stratton explained. "There's a time and a place for everything, and a neighborhood is not a place to try to rescue dogs."

Romano was cited for numerous violations, including animal cruelty and neglect and creating a public nuisance.