BCSO Arrests Two People For Animal Cruelty After 57 Animals Die In Merritt Island House Fire

By  //  January 23, 2017

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Jacquelyn Traum, 67, and Daniel Brantley, 55

As a result of the investigation, on Monday, 67-year-old Jacquelyn Traum (Left) and 55-year-old Daniel Brantley (Right), both of Merritt Island, were arrested and charged with 4 Felony counts of Animal Cruelty (Causing Death, Pain, and Suffering), and 74 misdemeanor counts of Animal Cruelty (Torment, Deprive, Mutilate, Kill). (BCSO IMAGES)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested two individuals responsible for the mass casualty of animals that perished in a Merritt Island house fire back on January 11 which resulted in a total of 57 animal deaths.

According to Cpl. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, on January 11, at around 3:45 a.m., Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Deputies along with the Brevard County Fire County Rescue (BCFR) personnel responded to 473 Kennwood Ave. in Merritt Island in reference to a structure fire.

When deputies arrived they found the residents attempting to frantically remove dogs from the residence.

Unfortunately, the residence quickly filled with smoke preventing any further rescue attempts. Subsequently, firefighters arrived on scene and were able to extinguish the fire.

According to authorities, 14 dogs and one cat were rescued from the residence while some of the dogs were immediately provided oxygen by BCFR at the scene, with one dog receiving CPR.

Image taken from inside the residence that housed over 70 animals in Merritt Island. (BCSO Image)

All of the rescued animals were transported to the Brevard County South Animal Care Center where they received emergency treatment, as BCSO medical staff continues to treat the animals and they are optimistic that all 15 animals will recover completely.

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Tragically, 45 cats, 4 dogs, 2 raccoons, and one macaw perished in the fire.

While assisting BCFR with the removal of animals from the residence, BCSO Animal Service personnel discovered the condition of the residence to be deplorable and evidence of animal hoarding.

The overcrowding of animals within the home resulted in inhumane and unsanitary living conditions, according Cpl. Jacobs.

Image taken from inside the residence that housed over 70 animals in Merritt Island. (BCSO Image)

“Several of the rescued animals were not being provided adequate veterinary care and were suffering from significant medical issues,” said Cpl. Dave Jacobs of BCSO.

“Unfortunately, the excessive number of animals being housed in the residence created severe overcrowding, which likely increased the effects of the fire and the subsequent loss of animal lives.”

As a result of the investigation, on Monday, 67-year-old Jacquelyn Traum and 55-year-old Daniel Brantley, both of Merritt Island, were arrested and charged with 4 Felony counts of Animal Cruelty (Causing Death, Pain, and Suffering), and 74 misdemeanor counts of Animal Cruelty (Torment, Deprive, Mutilate, Kill).

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Both Traum and Brantley are each being held at the Brevard County Jail under a $45,000 bond.

The investigation revealed Jacquelyn Traum and Daniel Brantley inhumanely housed a large amount of animals within a small space where the health, safety and sanitary conditions of the animals contributed to the excessive suffering and stress of the animals.

Image taken from inside the residence that housed over 70 animals in Merritt Island. (BCSO Image)

The manner of confinement contributed to the death of 57 animals, due to their inability to escape the fire.

Traum and Brantley also failed to properly seek veterinary care for four dogs that had severe medical conditions, which caused unnecessary pain and suffering for the animals over an extended period of time.

“The inhumane conditions these animals were being kept and the amount of suffering they endured is unimaginable,” said Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey

“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.”

“I can’t thank them and our Animal Services Team enough for everything they did to save the pets and to prepare them for adoption to loving homes where they will actually be cared for and loved the rest of their lives,” said Ivey.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to please contact the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Animal Cruelty Investigations via the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 321-633-7162 or CRIMELINE at 1-800- 423-TIPS (8477).

You can also visit crimeline.org or text ‘crimeline’ plus your tip to CRIME (274637).

All information to CRIMELINE is confidential and you may be eligible for a reward.

Image taken from inside the residence that housed over 70 animals in Merritt Island. (BCSO Image)

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ABOVE MAP: Rescue units were called to a house near the 400 block of Kennwood Ave. regarding a ‘structure fire’ at around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.


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