Police rescue three girl children living amid 245 animals and knee-deep garbage from hell-like Florida home
Three Florida adults are facing child abuse and animal cruelty charges after authorities found three young girls living in a "deplorable" house with 245 animals.
Edgewater police arrived at the house on Royal Palm Drive Sunday to conduct a welfare check on three kids aged 8, 9, and 10 when they found them in a disheveled state, reports the New York Post.
“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."
According to the report, police recovered at least 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 from the residence.
57-year-old Greg Nelson, his wife Susan, 49, and his girlfriend Melissa Hamilton, 43, now face three counts of child abuse coupled with 66 counts of animal cruelty.
The Nelsons were identified by WESH as parents of the girls, who were placed with a relative.
Authorities said Greg Nelson had recently split with Susan and Hamilton, and called the cops when they said they wouldn't let him take the children.
The rescued animals were rushed to the Edgewater Animal Shelter, where they are currently being cared for.
WESH reported the adults were allegedly breeding rats and mice to sell to snake owners, and police said it was the fifth time they had been summoned to the residence in the past year.
“It’s finally come to a head,” nearby resident 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.”
In 2018, animal control workers responded to the home at least twice after reports about a dog on the loose and another dog who was injured. However, they said the residents never allowed them inside the property and that there wasn't enough evidence for a warrant.
Susan posted bail and was released from jail on Monday. Meanwhile, her husband Greg was admitted to a hospital after having chest pains. Police said he is due to be booked into the Volusia County Jail without bail once he is discharged from the hospital.
That said, Hamilton had to be committed for a psychological evaluation after she ingested 17 Xanax pills, saying she did not want to live anymore.
Anthony Binz, one of the responding officers, wrote in his report there was literally no space in the home one could walk without stepping on debris or animal feces.
Furthermore, he said the children's bedroom was “ankle-deep” in garbage and had a bunk bed with no mattresses.
Describing the horrifying conditions, Binz said it was “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.”
Speaking to News 6, Amanda LeClair, veterinary manager at the animal shelter, said the home “was just atrocious.”
“This has been one of the worst I’ve ever seen," she said. "I don’t understand how someone can devalue a life that much.”