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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The carcasses of three dogs were found inside a home in an upscale, gated Mandarin community. Neighbors believe the lives of those animals could have been saved.

The homeowner, Sherry Meyer, died back in January. Soon after, neighbors say her son took over ownership and moved in with several dogs. But they say he did not take care of them.

"It just absolutely breaks my heart," said Joyce Rooney. "I've already been in tears about it."

Photos taken inside of Meyer's home show the badly decomposed dogs along with trash and animal waste scattered across the floors.

"We called (the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office), we've called animal control on several different occasions," said Rooney.

An animal control officer visited the property on March 21. Records show no one was home, but the officer noticed through the glass door two dogs were inside and appeared to be in "excellent condition."

Again in April there was another visit by animal control. At that time, three dogs in the house were visible from outside and all were said to appear to be just fine.

By June, after receiving more complaints an animal control officer went back to the house on Reds Gait Lane. Meyer wasn't home and officers believed the dogs had been removed from the house. By August 19, both the Sheriff's Office and animal control confirmed what neighbors had feared: three dogs were found badly decomposed inside the home.

The exact details of what happened inside of the home are not yet known, but Rooney believes whatever happened could have been prevented.

"We tried from March on to save the lives of these dogs; however something didn't work, something went wrong," said Rooney. "So we need to go back and see what went wrong. Is it our laws? Is it our complacency? What is it?"

Scott Meyer was cited for failing to provide wholesome air exchange; keeping animals on property causing unsanitary conditions; and not licensing the dogs or having them vaccinated for rabies.

A member of the homeowners' association at Red's Gait says the mortgage holder of the home plans to send out a cleaning crew to the house.

First Coast News has been in contact with JSO to find out if there are any criminal charges pending. We're told they will provide us with detailed information in the coming days.

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