A New York woman was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after county officials say they found nearly 300 neglected animals “living among filth” inside her home.
The 51-year-old woman’s home in Brookhaven on Long Island, was raided by law enforcement and an animal rescue team. They removed nearly 300 animals, mostly rabbits and birds, from the vermin-infested home, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Tuesday in a news release.
“The animals were living among filth – many surrounded by their own feces and urine and covered in vermin,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “It is estimated that there were tens and thousands of cockroaches crawling through the home.”
The home was deemed “a hoarding situation” with 118 rabbits, 150 birds, 15 cats, seven tortoises, three snakes and several mice, according to the district attorney. Brookhaven code enforcement officials condemned the home as uninhabitable, the district attorney’s office said.
Brookhaven officials were tipped off by local firefighters who took notice of the animals and the squalid conditions in the home while responding to a call on Oct. 1. .
Jed Painter, assistant district attorney who heads up the office’s environmental and animal crimes unit, said the home was so infested with rodents, roaches and fleas, and smelled so badly of ammonia that investigators had to wear special ventilators and hazmat suits.
SEEING HUNDREDS OF HAWKS FLYING OVERHEAD:How to watch birds this migration season
BEE ASSAULT: Massachusetts woman protests ‘wrongful eviction’ by releasing swarm of bees on police
“Pretty much every substance in there was somewhat poisonous to the animals,” Painter told USA TODAY on Thursday. “From the air, to the fluid, to where they slept. There was no way to live a healthy existence in any of those cages.”
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it is helping transport the animals to shelters and rescue groups throughout New York to receive care.
The woman has been charged with multiple misdemeanor counts of cruel confinement of animals, according to the district attorney’s office.
“We arrived just in time,” Painter said. “I have no doubt… if you’d visit that place in another couple months, you’d see mass death and severe injuries.”