UPDATE: The couple has relinquished all animalsthat were removed except five, reports Bucks County SPCA executive director Anne Irwin. That will allow the shelter to find adoptive homes for the animals quickly once they are healthy and ready to go. The couple says they want to keep three dogs a cockatoo and a grey parrot. That doesn't mean they will get them back. Those animals will remain in SPCA custody for the duration of the court proceedings. In addition, a pregnant cat that was removed from the home gave birth to "a few" kittens today. There are other pregnant cats, so officials say the rescue numbers will rise. An African parrot recovering at the shelter, had a few kind words for its caretakers today, squawking "Praise the Lord," Irwin said, adding " I second that."
Humane officers in Bucks County on Thursday removed 118 animals, including cats, dogs, chickens and snakes, from a filthy Bedminster home.
Bucks County SPCA executive director Anne Irwin said 70 chickens were removed - all but four living in cages inside the ranch-style home, - nine dogs and 18 cats, along with a parrot, parakeets and other small birds, guinea pigs, lizards, snakes and several ducks
She said the number of cats will rise as one female cat was set to give birth this morning.
Irwin described it as a "troubling hoarding situation" and one of largest cases the shelter has seen.
The raid came a day after officers visited the house on Deep Run Rd. following a tip that animals were living in filthy conditions.
The owner, William Cameron, 80, would not let a humane officer on the property Wednesday after an officer saw six chickens living in “very small and filthy crates” in the front of the home.
Bucks County SPCA humane officers and Bedminster police executed a search warrant Thursday thinking they would remove about 10 animals.
"We just kept finding more and more , including chickens living in a bedroom and a dog tied to a bedpost," said Irwin. "Conditions were bad enough because of the ammonia level and feces . We couldn't leave any animal living in house."
Irwin said because the shelter is part of the Bucks County hoarding task force the county senior services agency sent a case worker to the home to evaluate the situation. A woman living at the home was identified as Betty Jones.
Many of the animals were underweight, Irwin said and all of them were dirty, They are being treated at the SPCA's two shelters.
"They are in a better situation," said Irwin. "Many need treatment for neglect."
She said the shelters had an assembly line going yesterday: a vet examined every one and the matted animals were shaved. All animals will be getting baths today.
Irwin said she couldn't imagine how two people could possibly care for 118 animals in a humane fashion. "We have staff at two shelters doing extra to keep up," she said.
Irwin said no determination has been made on whether cruelty charges will be filed.
She said the case underscores the need for the passage of legislation now under consideration in the state Senate that would require owners to surrender animals or pay for the cost of the care of their animals during court proceedings.
The bill, HB82, passed the House overwhelming support in January but has since stalled in a Senate Judiciary committee after due process objections were raised by the American Kennel Club and sporting dog groups, and the procedural concerns voiced by the court system.
"This case is a wake-up call," said Irwin. "We could have these animals for long time."