Who, age What Where When Last Known Address

Ann M. Centofanti, 44(2)

4 dogs found

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

February 8, 2007  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 24(2) 4 dogs found

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

February 8, 2007  
Ann M. Centofanti, 44(3) 64 animals seized; damaged property; grand theft and criminal mischief; tenants & pets caused $100,000 of damage

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

November 28, 2007  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 24(3) 64 animals seized; damaged property; grand theft and criminal mischief; tenants & pets caused $100,000 of damage

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

November 28, 2007  
Ann M. Centofanti, 44(4) 46 dogs, 3 cats abandoned

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

February 3, 2008  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 24 (4) 46 dogs, 3 cats abandoned

Oakland Park , FL

Broward County

February 3, 2008  
Ann M. Centofanti, 44(5) 17 dogs and 1 pet bird found

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

February 5, 2008  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 24(5) 17 dogs and 1 pet bird found

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

February 5, 2008  
Ann M. Centofanti, 46(6) hoarding, dozens of dogs living in filth

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

December 2, 2010  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 26(6) hoarding, dozens of dogs living in filth

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

December 2, 2010  
Ann M. Centofanti, 56(7) 23 dogs, 18 pups abandoned

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

February 4, 2014  
Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 36(7) 23 dogs, 18 pups abandoned

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County

February 4, 2014  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse

(2,3,4)criminal mischief and grand theft

(5)probation violation

(6)3rd degree felony, 44 counts of animal cruelty; probation violation

(7)At Large; probation violation

(1)grand theft and criminal mischief

(4)Abandonment

(6)animal torture

(7)Abandonment

(2)4 dogs

(3)64 animals

(4)46 dogs, 3 cats

(5)17 dogs, 1 bird

(6)dozens of dogs

(7)23 dogs, 18 pups

(1)Convicted on civil charges

(2,3,4) Convicted, civil charges for criminal mischief & grand theft

(5) civil charges for criminal mischief; ordered to Mental Health Court on 5/21/09; given probation, which ends 12/01/2015

(6)Probation Violation

(7)Probation Violation

 

Prior hoarding cases
A year before Broward sheriff's deputies arrested a mother and her daughter on charges they wrecked rental homes with more than 5 dozen unwalked, unkempt dogs, authorities got a whiff of their scent.

On November 28, 2007 BSO deputies responded to 4431 NE 15 Way in Oakland Park for a civil matter. The arriving deputies learned that 2 tenants of the recently refurbished and fully furnished home had been evicted for not paying rent. The homeowner’s daughter, Lindsay Hillstrom, discovered the vacated home but was unable to gain entry because the locks had been changed, reportedly by the evicted tenants, Ann M. Centofanti, 44 and her daughter Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti, 24. After a locksmith was called in, Hillstrom “found the entire house in disaster and the majority of the furnishings had been stolen, with the remaining furnishings destroyed,” according to the complaint affidavit. The report by BSO Oakland Park Detective Brian Rupp stated “…it looked like a battle scene. There were feces spread throughout the entire house, including inside the washing machine, sinks, and walls.” Rupp continued “There were large portions of walls that had been chewed past the wire mesh and the stench was unbearable. As I walked through the residence I was attacked by thousands of fleas.” Det. Rupp also added “It was the worst case of vandalism I had seen in over (20) years of law enforcement, and it only occurred over a five month period.”

The homeowner, Deborah Hillstrom, reported the damage at $45,000 inside the house plus $15,000 for the stolen furnishings. The cost just to disinfect the structure so it could be entered safely was $8,000. Hillstrom said she expects the total cost to top $100,000.

Photo courtesy of Broward County Sheriff's Office

On February 3rd 2008, BSO deputies responded to 1725 Floranada Dr. in Oakland Park to a report of 49 abandoned animals at that address. BSO detectives noted the similarities between the 2 cases and developed information that led them to the same 2 women, Centofanti and her daughter, Hesse-Centofanti. The suspects’ identity was confirmed in a photo lineup by several witnesses and arrest warrants were issued on February 4th.

BSO detectives believe the suspects are in a new home in the area, likely with some animals. They might be traveling in a white 2004 Ford Mustang belonging to Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti with Florida tag I51-7AI. If anyone sees them, they should call BSO Det. Brian Rupp at 954-561-6111 or contact Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org

The mother and daughter that abandoned 49 animals on February 3rd, 2008 are wanted for grand theft and criminal mischief after causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to their previous rented home.

On February 8, 2007, a BSO deputy accompanied a Department of Children & Families investigator to the Oakland Park residence of Ann M. Centofanti and Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti for an elderly abuse investigation.

Neighbors Dianne and Pat Shortsleeve, who lived next door to 3475 NW 17th Terrace, had alerted DCF they were concerned about the condition of the house "due to a strong smell of dog feces and urine, which can be smelled outside of the residence," according to an incident report. The Shortsleeves were also alarmed because they hadn't seen the grandmother in months. The Bolducs heard from neighbors that Lucy Centofanti, Ann Centofanti 's mother, was confined to her bed nearly all the time.

Investigators found 4 dogs, some foul odor, a frail grandmother -- but no sign of foul play. The Shortsleeves also notified animal control and the Broward County Health Department about the smell, but neither took action, according to Jay Bolduc.

In the next 12 months, the family went through at least 3 other homes, 2 of which needed to be completely gutted, and their pooch collection topped out at 64 before they called it quits, according to neighbors, landlords and the Broward Sheriff's Office.

In February 2008 they abandoned 46 dogs and 3 cats at an Oakland Park rental home that was so filled with waste deputies needed to wear hazmat suits to enter, BSO said.

Photo courtesy of local10 news

Mother and daughter remained in a Broward jail on charges of criminal mischief and grand theft. They had confessed to leaving dozens of animals in squalor at a home in the 1700 block of Floranada Road. BSO also says they are the tenants who caused more than $100,000 in damage to another house 4 blocks away.

In February, 2007, after the complaint of possible elderly neglect, authorities found their rental duplex on Northwest 17th Terrace to be in suitable condition, aside from some odor from the 4 dogs. Lucy Centofanti told them that she was happy with her living arrangement, according to a BSO report.

Neighbors and landlords tell a different story. They say the women only cleaned up piles of animal filth when they were alerted authorities were on the way to their apartment. "The cops didn't do anything. I couldn't believe it," said Sharon Bolduc, who owns the property with husband Jay. "You could smell it in the driveway."

Lucy Centofanti told authorities she was fed and bathed, often took trips to the park and did not feel neglected. BSO Deputy Gerardo Lopez wrote in the report that Centofanti "appeared to be in good physical condition and does not appear to be neglected." He also noted that the residence appeared to be clean but did smell of pets, due to there being 4 dogs living inside.

The grandmother, who accompanied her daughter and granddaughter as they moved from home to home, was not arrested like the others but was hospitalized.

The Centofanti's eventually left the 17th Terrace duplex -- partly because they bounced a check, partly because they couldn't stand the smell of waste when the air conditioner died, Jay Bolduc said. They left behind a debt of $6,000 in back rent and more than $10,000 worth of damage, he added.

Soon thereafter, they moved into the home owned by Debbie Hillstrom at 4400 NE 15th Way, where their cooped-up dogs -- which multiplied from just a handful to dozens -- caused severe damage, the owner said. The family is believed to have trashed 2 other Broward homes before authorities arrested them.

Before she went to jail, Centofanti helped people for a living. She worked at WorkForce One, which helps job-seekers find employment, as a welfare transitional career counselor, according to Nel Taylor, a company spokeswoman.

Authorities never fully determine how the women gathered so many dogs. Some were the result of breeding, but the women would not tell BSO how they got the others.

Update 2/6/08:
A mother and daughter that allegedly abandoned animals and destroyed the home they rented turned themselves in to Broward Sheriff’s Office Oakland Park detectives on Tuesday, February 5th.

After seeing themselves on the news Ann M. Centofanti, 44, and her daughter Ann F. Hesse-Centofanti were arrested at the home they just rented in Ft. Lauderdale. Centofanti called BSO detectives early Tuesday morning to discuss turning herself and her daughter in to authorities. BSO detectives responded to 1344 NW 6 Ave. in Ft. Lauderdale and arrested both women on 2 outstanding warrants for grand theft and criminal mischief from November, 2007.

At the Ft. Lauderdale address detectives found 16 dogs living in the house, which had a strong urine-like stench inside. Also at the house was Centofanti’s 82-year-old mother, Lucy Violet Centofanti. She was transported by Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue to an area hospital to be checked out. Broward County Animal Care and Regulation officers responded with 2 trucks to remove the 16 dogs, ranging in sizes and demeanor. The dogs appeared to have been fed but were filthy. Also found in the home was a caged bird that was taken to the Wildlife Refuge Center in Ft. Lauderdale.

After being interviewed by detectives at the BSO Oakland Park District, the 2 women were transported to the Main Jail where they each face an additional charge of felony criminal mischief in connection to the case from November 2007. The damage and mess to the duplex on 45th St. was so extensive that a professional crime scene cleanup company hired by the landlord found 1 more dog buried in the debris today. Fortunately, the dog seemed healthy and was also picked up by humane officers.

Lucy Centofanti lived at the Manor Pines Convalescent Center before her family pulled her out and took her home with them. She suffers from diabetes, and at one time had 14 prescription medications, according to a Manor Pines receipt the family left in the Northwest 17th Terrace home. She is currently hospitalized in Broward County. In time, the waste could have killed her.

Both mother and daughter are held on $6,500 bond.

Update 10/28/10:
A mother and her daughter could avoid jail time after they changed their plea on October 26th, in their animal cruelty case.
Centofanti and Hesse-Centofanti, pleaded no contest to animal cruelty, grand theft and felony criminal mischief charges for keeping more than 60 dogs and cats in deplorable conditions in a house they abandoned in Oakland Park.

The legal move helps the women avoid trial and puts the fate of the first-time offenders in the hands of a judge.

Despite all the animals, the women face only 1 animal cruelty charge. The Centofanti's said they kept all the animals because they didn't want to see them destroyed.
Sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Current case 2/05/14:
Animal care and control officials rescued 23 dogs and 18 puppies from a filthy Fort Lauderdale home after the tenant was evicted and neighbors said she walked away from the animals. Lucy Violet Centofanti died on March 30, 2013.

Gracie Alexander, who lives across from the home on NW 7 Terrace, said on windy days the stench from the home was absolutely overwhelming. “Ammonia,” she said. “Horrendous. Just stinky.” Dogs everywhere and police trying to get a handle on the situation. Inside the home showed the filth and dirt on the walls. Two dirty water bowls were left for the dogs roaming inside and outside of the unit. “That was a crazy lady,” Alexander said.

Photo courtesy of CBS Miami

Neighbors say when the tenant moved in 2 months ago, she didn’t have any dogs then suddenly she had dozens. The landlord said the tenant is Ann Centofanti, who lived in the home with her daughter. State prison records show Centofanti is on probation for several charges including torturing animals. Neighbors say she left a mess inside and out and simply abandoned all the dogs

In this case, the landlord said her house is trashed and clean up could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. A man named Albert who declined to give his last name said he was paid to clean out the inside of the house and only found one bag of dog food inside for all these animals. He believes the tenant should face criminal charges. “They should be in jail,” Albert said. “That’s what I think. It’s animal cruelty.”

The dogs and puppies are now living at Broward County Animal Care and Control, where officials say they will be screened by a veterinarian in the hopes of adopting them out. Rescue organizations and humane advocates are being called for immediate help.

Photo courtesy of the Broward County Animal Care & Control

A statement from the shelter provides the following information:
"The dogs are mostly Staffordshire and Lab mixes; there are a couple of German Shepherds, several pregnant dogs, and 2 currently nursing mothers. A couple of the dogs are injured from having been attacked by other dogs. Many of these dogs, although not aggressive, are not used to being handled and need special attention. “They’re gonna have to go to an experienced pet parent, somebody that’s had pets in the past,” said County Animal Spokesperson Lisa Mendheim. “Somebody that has a lot of patience and time. This is not the type of dog that you adopt and you go to work and leave it alone all day.”

Other dogs are scared, hiding in the back of their kennels. Animal care and control officials say this behavior is indicative of a hoarding situation where the animals are not given proper love and attention. “They had no socialization skills,” Mendheim said. “They’re not housebroken. We think there’s some inbreeding going on.”

“Hopefully we can get the rescue groups to come and take them because we can’t hold them here forever unfortunately,” Mendheim said.

Animal Care officials say they don’t know where Centofanti is and they have had limited contact with her since these animals were found. Fort Lauderdale Police say they are actively investigating to see if any charges should be filed.

Photo courtesy of the Broward County Animal Care & Control

Update 2/11/14:
Broward County Animal Care & Control officials say nearly 2 dozen dogs still need a home after being abandoned at a Fort Lauderdale home last week. County animal officials say if these dogs aren’t adopted out soon they will likely be euthanized.

Broward County Animal Care and Control officials say there are 4 or 5 dogs who are social and have yet to be adopted.“They’re gonna have to go to an experienced pet parent, somebody that’s had pets in the past,” said County Animal Spokesperson Lisa Mendheim. “Somebody that has a lot of patience and time. This is not the type of dog that you adopt and you go to work and leave it alone all day.”

Photo courtesy of CBS Miami

Other dogs are scared, hiding in the back of their kennels. Animal care and control officials say this behavior is indicative of a hoarding situation where the animals are not given proper love and attention. “They had no socialization skills,” Mendheim said. “They’re not housebroken. We think there’s some inbreeding going on.”

County officials hope a rescue organization steps up to take the animals because a rescue group might have the time to train these dogs in hopes of making them someone’s lifelong pet. “Hopefully we can get the rescue groups to come and take them because we can’t hold them here forever unfortunately,” Mendheim said.

Animal Care officials say they don’t know where Centofanti is and they have had limited contact with her since these animals were found. Fort Lauderdale Police say they are actively investigating to see if any charges should be filed.

Update 2/22/14:
The Centofanti's is once again on the run.

It's one of the horrors of hoarding," said Lisa Menheim of Broward County Animal Care. "It's a form of cruelty because you don't have the wherewithal to take care of them properly, feed them properly, to spend time with all of these dogs properly."

Broward County Animal Care put out a call for help and that call was answered by local rescues. Little, Skye, Toby, Shannon, Sugar, Molly, Marla are being kept at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Oakland Park, Florida. the largest no kill shelter in Broward County. All need exposure for potential adopters.

Carlitos, Laura, Sam, Maggie, Mona and Matthew need fosters. Angel has been pulled and transported to HALO, a rescue in Vero Beach, Florida. Lilly and Shea went to adoptable status at the shelter.

Photo courtesy of mugshots

Meanwhile, police are still looking for Centofanti. She faces 44 counts of animal cruelty which are 3rd degree felony charges.

Update 2/24/14:
44 dogs that were rescued from a hoarding house just two weeks ago are doing well. When they arrived at the shelter they were obviously terrified and appeared very reclusive. They leaned on one another for comfort with obvious fear in their eyes.

The 44 dogs were expected to face doggy death row due to the horrible hoarding condition in the home of Ann Centofanti. Lisa Menheim of Broward County Animal Care said "Hoarding is a form of cruelty, because you don't have the wherewithal to take care of them properly. The dogs don't deserve being treated like they're just nothing. They're all sweet, sweet creatures. They should have a home."

Luckily, the dogs were taken in by a no-kill shelter, where Laura Rose is working with the dogs, providing TLC, a structured schedule and teaching them to play, walk and eat with others. "We're going to have to work with them," Rose said. "We do have a lot of volunteers, we have a lot of dog walkers, we have a lot of people come in daily who just want to spend time with dogs. These (dogs) are sweethearts. They are really, really nice dogs. Just a little bit of work and they will be great, great dogs." These dogs are so desperate for attention, they all cluster together just hoping to get some love. "They're loyal to the end," said Animal Care Specialist Roland Jordan. "No matter what you do to a dog, they seem to gravitate to you."

Update 2/26/14:
Animal hoarders exist in just about every community. At one time they were merely looked upon as well-intentioned people who were overwhelmed by the animal overpopulation crisis, and wanted to do their best to save these unwanted or abandoned animals. Animal hoarders are now recognized as individuals whose mental illness can cause criminal behavior resulting in horrific and often painful conditions for animals, the hoarders’ families, and their communities.

Hoarders often confine animals to tiny cages or crates that are stacked on top of each other, usually ignoring the animals’ social needs and need for exercise completely. Accumulated feces and urine often covering every surface in hoarders’ residences can create dangerously high ammonia levels, which can burn skin, eyes, and lungs.

These crimes are almost always fatal for the animals. If they do not die at the scene, most are made so ill or deemed unadoptable, having gone mad from confinement and deprivation. Tragically, the most humane option for them is euthanasia. Many animals who go undiscovered by authorities languish for months or years on hoarders’ properties, dying slowly and agonizingly.

"No matter what you do to a dog, they seem to gravitate to you."

Update 7/29/15:

Ann Frances Hesse-Centofanti is now in custody. Her mother is still at large.

Photo courtesy of JailBase

Reference:

CBS Miami The Miami Herald
mugshots local 10 news
examiner Anchor/Animal Advocate
Sun Sentinel Jail Base
Broward County Sheriff's Office & Animal Care & Control Broward County17 Circuit Judicial Court