Another case of alleged animal hoarding has been reported in Belmont County.
Local authorities executed a search warrant on a home where a couple was reportedly keeping dogs and cats in "deplorable conditions." It happened in Bellaire early Tuesday afternoon.
Neighbors say the house at 353 Florence Avenue on Pinch Run has a strong smell even outdoors. In fact, one police officer became physically ill while trying to go inside.
The husband and wife were reportedly keeping five dogs and 36 cats in crates in the house, never going outside, even for a walk. Belmont County Animal Shelter authorities say they tried to work with them, but got no cooperation.
So, they seized the animals and they say neglect charges may soon be filed.
"Oh, it's been a nightmare," said a neighbor. "They've been here for almost two years now. And the smell has been outrageous, even in the cold weather. I'm very happy this is getting taken care of."
"The house is deplorable," says Mandae Lewis, Belmont County humane officer. "The stench from the urine, the feces. There's four cats crammed in each cage, with the litter box just full of feces. The dogs were stuck in cages, 24-7. It's a mess."
Bellaire Police provided back-up for animal shelter officials, who went inside and brought each animal out individually.
They took the dogs and cats to the shelter, where they will get basic hygiene and veterinary care.
The homeowners were clearly angry that their animals were being removed, but neighbors told police they have never seen any of the animals outside, for even a moment.
They said the smell in the whole area became intolerable.