Courtesy of New York Post: [https://nypost.com/?s=children+abuse]
Three young girls were discovered living in a “deplorable” house in Florida along with 245 animals — and three adults face child abuse and animal cruelty charges in the shocking case, according to reports.
Edgewater police were called Sunday to conduct a welfare check on the three kids — ages 8, 9 and 10 — at a home on Royal Palm Drive, where they found the madhouse menagerie, officials said.
“It was immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly. The residence was in deplorable living conditions,” police said in a statement.
“Officers observed a dead guinea pig in a cage, rotting food, animal feces and urine throughout the residence,” cops added.
Authorities recovered four dogs, two cats, 83 rats, 95 mice, nine guinea pigs, 12 rabbits, four hamsters, 10 sugar gliders, 14 birds, seven bearded dragons, two geckos, a tortoise and a hedgehog, police said.
Greg Nelson, 57, his wife, Susan Nelson, 49, and Melissa Hamilton, 43, face three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty.
NBC affiliate WESH identified the Nelsons as the parents of the girls, who were placed with a relative.
Officials said Greg Nelson called the cops after he broke up with his wife and Hamilton, who is his girlfriend, after he said they wouldn’t let him take the kids, WFTV reported.
The animals were taken to the Edgewater Animal Shelter, which is seeking donations to help it care for them.
Officials believe the adults were breeding the rats and mice to sell to snake owners, according to WESH.
Police said it’s the fifth time they’ve been called to the home in the past year.
“It’s finally come to a head,” neighbor Ashley Fogg told WFTV. “It’s been three years that I’ve been personally calling and reporting them between Animal Control, Code Enforcement and police.”
Animal control workers visited the home twice in 2018 for reports about a loose dog and an injured dog — but the residents never allowed them inside and the city didn’t have enough evidence for a warrant, the station reported.
Susan Nelson was released from jail Monday after posting bail and declined to answer reporters’ questions.
Her husband was admitted to a hospital after complaining of chest pains, police said. He will be booked into the Volusia County Jail without bail, police said.
Hamilton was involuntarily committed for a psychological evaluation after saying she does not want to live and taking 17 Xanax pills, police said.
Another neighbor told News 6 they knew something wasn’t quite right.
“Their kids were running around in the street with no clothes on, basically just underwear,” Chris Hurley told the station. “I just feel (greatly) for the kids and the animals.”
Police Officer Anthony Binz wrote in his report that there was nowhere in the home to walk without stepping on animal feces and assorted debris.
The children’s bedroom was “ankle deep” in garbage and included a bunk bed with no top mattress, police said.
Binz described the conditions as “the absolute worst residence I have been to regarding the overwhelming odor of ammonia, animal hoarding and just the everyday living conditions in which these three juveniles have had to endure.”
Amanda LeClair, veterinary manager at the animal shelter, told News 6 that the home “was just atrocious.”
“This has been one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand how someone can devalue a life that much.”