Couple arrested and banned from owning pets after authorities found 10 dirty, hungry dogs in yard

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sheriff’s deputies arrested a husband and wife on Tuesday after authorities said they found 10 hungry, dirty dogs without water in their backyard.

The Alachua County State’s Attorney’s Office filed 10 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and two counts of fighting or baiting animals — all felonies — against the couple. They have been identified as Landis J’Marcus Finch, 36, and his wife, Kendra Nichole Reshard-Finch, 35, both of Waldo.

Their bail was set at $200,000 each.

The couple face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each aggravated animal cruelty offence. For the two offenses of animal fighting or baiting, the finches face a sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine.

Under Florida law, a person convicted of animal cruelty must seek psychological counseling or undergo an anger management treatment program.

Animal fighting or baiting is defined by Florida law as the possession, sale, or possession of equipment used in the breeding, training, or possession of wild or domestic animals for animal fighting.

The state’s attorney’s office formally charged the couple on Oct. 27, sheriff’s spokeswoman Capt. Kaley Behl said. It is not uncommon for a warrant to take a week or two to process before arrests can be made.

A spokesman for the district attorney’s office, Darry Lloyd, said he received a complaint from the Alachua County Animal Services Agency, which received a tip from the Finch’s neighbor. The Finches would not allow animal services investigators on their property, but the neighbor allowed officers on his property to look into the Finch’s yard, Lloyd said.

Officers could visibly see the dogs in distress, Lloyd said.

Alachua County Animal Services previously issued a citation to the husband on September 22 for failing to humanely treat 10 dogs on his property. The dogs were dirty, in poor physical condition and had no water, according to the citation. That citation reopened a July 2017 lawsuit in which Alachua County sued the couple for custody of 11 dogs.

“They are [animal services] trying to protect animals, and this couple has been on a ride with them before,” Lloyd said. “They’re doing the same thing again.”

In that complaint, animal services officers described the dogs as emaciated and dehydrated with hair loss, parasites and fur matted with feces, records show. That case was closed in September 2017 when the court ordered nine of the dogs to be turned over to animal services. The couple were also ordered to own no more than two dogs and to pay the county $574.30 for veterinary services provided to two dogs, Gohan and Cocoa.

On Nov. 1, a judge found the couple breached their 2017 orders and ordered all 10 dogs taken into custody by the animal services agency. The judge also ordered the couple never to own any other animal in Alachua County.

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This is breaking news. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing [email protected].


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Jennifer R. Strohm