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‘Sick, demented, and cruel’: Florida man starved dogs to point of paralysis, sheriff says

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man was put behind bars Saturday after authorities said he intentionally starved his dogs while keeping a bag of food in front of them.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said deputies with the animal cruelty unit got a call from a concerned citizen about the situation in early September, prompting them to investigate.

Deputies arrived at the home of Joseph Farkas, 70, of Mims where they found his dogs Katie and Darcy “emaciated and in a state of paralysis” from being starved nearly to death.

Ivey said deputies had to carry the dogs out of the home in order to give them emergency aid.

“In fact, their conditions were so desperate that Katie had been paralyzed on the floor of the residence for several days and was lying in a puddle of her own urine,” he said.

Katie suffered scalding from lying in her urine since she couldn’t even change her position, according to investigators. Ivey said Darcy was in even worse condition, suffering from a skin disease and organ failure.

At the time of their rescue, Katie weighed only 38.4 pounds, and Darcy weighed 31.6 pounds. Veterinary staff said the two dogs weighed well below what would be considered their healthy weight.

Ivey said deputies learned that as the dogs were starving, Farkas kept an unopened bag of dog food laid against a wall in view of the suffering canines.

“What kind of sick, demented, and cruel person does that to a helpless animal?” Ivey said.

The sheriff said that his staff determined that this caused mental stress to the dogs in addition to their physical problems.

Farkas said he didn’t think the dogs needed help and showed no remorse at first, according to the sheriff’s office. However, when deputies arrived to arrest him, Farkas refused to open the door and tried to drink detergent to get medical attention instead.

“Well sorry about your luck, pal, but our team kicked in your door long before you could drink enough liquid detergent to harm yourself,” Ivey said.

The sheriff said the dogs have recovered and are able to walk again, although they are still thin. However, Darcy has been adopted while Katie is about to be put up for adoption.

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