Nearly 300 animals rescued from vermin-infested home
Nearly 300 animals — including rabbits, cats, birds, tortoises and snakes — were rescued this week from a vermin-infested Long Island home where they endured “inhumane and brutal conditions,” officials said.
A filthy menagerie of 118 rabbits, 150 birds, 15 cats, seven tortoises and three snakes was removed Tuesday from the home on Miller Place in the Town of Brookdale, where they lived surrounded by vermin.
“It is estimated that there were tens and thousands of cockroaches crawling through the home,” the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Local animal control officers reported a “hoarding situation” at the home when they first responded on Oct. 1 for complaints of alleged town code violations, officials said.
Many of the animals were “surrounded by their own feces and urine and covered in vermin,” officials said. Some were suffering from untreated medical conditions.
The “deplorable” conditions led a town building inspector to condemn the property as “uninhabitable,” authorities said.
“When ASPCA responders arrived on the property, it was clear that immediate intervention was necessary to remove hundreds of neglected animals from the inhumane and brutal conditions they were subjected to and provide them with expert care,” ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement.
“The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has developed a task force dedicated to helping animals in need, and we commend them for prioritizing efforts to stop animal neglect and cruelty in their communities.”
The task force — dubbed BEAST, for Biological, Environmental and Animal Safety Team — launched “Operation Open Cage” to save the animals.
The rescued animals were taken to animal welfare organizations throughout New York, officials said.
Homeowner Karin M. Keyes, 51, was charged with multiple counts of cruel confinement of animals under the Agriculture and Markets Law, according to the DA’s office.
Authorities found out about the animals while Keyes was away and someone caring for the animals hit the fire alarm, News 12 reported.
First responders then discovered the squalid conditions.
Keyes’ friend, Danielle Ward, told the network that her pal loves animals and rescued them when she learned a pet store was closing.
Keyes put all her money toward the animals’ care — but eventually things got out of hand, her friend said.
“She has the biggest heart, and she can’t say no,” Ward said of her friend. “So, when she found an animal was sick or needed a home, she went and took it under her wing — and I guess it got out of control.”