A couple in central Florida was charged with four counts of animal cruelty Monday after a fire at their home killed 45 cats, five dogs, two raccoons and a macaw.

Jacquelyn Traum, 67, and Daniel Brantley, 55, were accused of holding the animals in “inhumane and unsanitary living conditions.” Bond was set at $45,000.

Law enforcement officers who responded to the fire at the couple’s Merritt Island, Florida, home on Jan. 11 were able to save the lives of one cat and 14 dogs. Officers took those animals to a nearby animal shelter for adoption and veterinary evaluations. 

The couple made it out of the house during the fire without any injuries, reports said Tuesday. Authorities have yet to release the cause of the fire.


"The inhumane conditions these animals were being kept [in] and the amount of suffering they endured is unimaginable," Brevard Country Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a statement. “The scene was very difficult for our fire rescue partners and our deputies, who tried to save as many animals as possible that were trapped inside the home."

Ivery said many of the animals’ medical needs were neglected, leaving most of the dogs and cats housed there in pain.

Of the 1,920 cases of animal abuse reported in the U.S. in 2016, dogs made up 60 percent, according to statisticsbrain.com. Eighteen percent of animals who were victims of abuse were cats.

Illinois and Hawaii are the only states that have specific laws addressing animal hoarding. Animal hoarding is when an individual "possesses more than the typical number of companion animals" and is unable to provide them with the minimum standards of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care, according to an  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals report.

A legal definition for animal hoarding can be found in the Illinois Companion Animal Hoarder Act, which was created in 2001. The law mandates people who are found to be “companion animal hoarders" undergo psychological or psychiatric evaluations. A more concrete legal consequence for animal hoarding can be found in Hawaii where suspects can be charged with a misdemeanor. The 2008 law made it illegal for anyone in the state of Hawaii to possess more than 15 dogs, cats, or any combination of the animals equaling 15.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website, the hoarding of inanimate objects often points to symptoms of both OCD and OCPD in humans. The animal rights group cited a 2001 study by Dr. Gary J. Patrone, a veterinarian and epidemiologist, titled “The Problem of Animal Hoarding,” that found 15-30 percent of those diagnosed with OCD had "hoarding as a primary symptom." The study conducted between 1997 and 2001 found that animals were found either deceased or suffering from an “obvious disease or injury” in 80 percent of hoarding cases.