LIGHTHOUSE POINT (CBSMiami) – A South Florida woman who is accused of keeping dozens of animals in filthy conditions in her home is now speaking out and telling her side of the story.
Linda Giaccio spoke to CBS4’s Carey Codd and despite the fact that some of those animals died, she would ever intentionally harm an animal.
“I’ve never hurt an animal in my life,” Giaccio told Codd.
Giaccio is adamant that she’s spent her life caring for animals and photos from a Lighthouse Point police raid at her home on September 2nd, 2016 is not indicative of how she cares for them.
“It was a desperate situation. I didn’t know where else to turn,” she said.
Police called it one of the most disgusting cases of animal neglect they’ve ever seen. There were dozens of neglected cats and dogs living in horrible conditions plus several dead cats and not enough food and water for the animals.
Linda Giaccio admits there were problems.
“I didn’t have enough funds to buy litter. I admit to that but the food? They all ate. Nobody starved because I didn’t eat to feed them,” she explained.
Giaccio showed Codd hundreds of pages of receipts for food and surgeries that she’s paid for over the past few years. She said she took in animals that would otherwise be put down and tried to adopt them out.
“I wanted to help the abandoned animals and I guess the part of it that I couldn’t say no.”
Cherie Wachter, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Broward County says she’s seen many people who have their hearts in the right place for animals but struggle with caring for them.
She wants the community to know there are places to turn.
“We offer low cost and in some cases free spay and neuter programs so that the pets you have aren’t contributing to the population of animals that you have,” said Wachter.
Giaccio says all of her animals were spayed and neutered.
She admits that for years she’s had difficulties with police, Lighthouse Point and Animal Care officials over her animals but she says as her situation became desperate and her money dried up she tried to find people and places that would take the animals with no luck.
“I honestly love those animals. I didn’t set out to have a dirty home for three weeks. I don’t know how else to make people understand. I would never hurt an animal. They’re my whole life.”
Lighthouse Point Police say prosecutors are considering more felony charges against Giaccio. She hopes people realize she’s not a heartless monster and she’s hoping to get some visits with her animals.