NEW: Port St. Lucie woman charged with animal cruelty

A Port St. Lucie woman has been arrested on animal-cruelty charges in connection to a case involving five dogs found abandoned at a home, police said Friday.

Christina Hand, 29, faces five counts of animal cruelty. Her arrest came after authorities rescued three pit bulls and two other dogs Monday from a home on the 4900 block of Northwest Ever Road. The dogs were found living in deplorable conditions and two appeared to be extremely emaciated, police said.

PHOTOS: Five dogs rescued from abandoned Port St. Lucie house

The dogs had been left in the home for as long as 30 days, and it appeared that some tried to eat through the walls in an attempt to get out. The dogs were treated at the Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County, then transferred to the St. Lucie Human Society.

They were last listed in stable condition.

According to the arrest report, the dogs all had microchips, with one being linked to a pet boarding facility in Port St. Lucie. A woman connected to the facility told investigators the Hand had become involved rescuing pit bulls about two years ago and owns an aminal rescue center.

Investigators say Hand had pit bull rescues in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie, but because of an insurance issue with her landlord, she was forced to bring some of the dogs to her home on Ever Road.

Hand moved out of the residence at the beginning of the year to care for her ailing grandmother, who died in August, police said. A relative told police he believed Hand was still going to the home each day to care for the dogs. Investigators went to Hand’s new address, where they met her in the driveway. She brought out five pit bulls who appeared to be healthy. She told investigators she would give statement with her attorney present.

Hand was arrested Friday and taken to the St. Lucie County Jail. Bond information was not immediately available.

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