Three children and more than 200 animals were rescued from a Florida home over the weekend after one of the residents called to report the home’s allegedly uninhabitable conditions.
Greg Nelson, 57, called police Sunday stating that he was ending both his relationship with his wife Susan Nelson, 43, and his live-in girlfriend Melissa Hamilton, 49. He said he wanted to take his children out of the home, Click Orlando reports. But he claimed his wife wouldn’t let him, so he called for welfare check on the kids because he felt the home was not livable for them anymore.
“Upon arrival, officers not only located the three children, but also 245 animals of various species housed on the property," police in Edgewater wrote in a press release. “It was immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly. The residence was in deplorable living conditions.”
The children, all girls, are ages 8, 9 and 10. They were removed by the Department of Children and Families and placed with a responsible relative, according to police. The animals were brought to a nearby animal shelter. Police found four dogs, two cats, 12 rabbits, 10 sugar gliders, seven bearded dragons, four hamsters, 15 birds, 95 mice, 83 rats and other species in the home.
Edgewater Animal Shelter veterinarian Amanda Leclair told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that she thinks the home was used for animal breeding.
“I have been to many bad houses but that is probably the worst house I’ve ever entered,” Edgewater police Chief Joe Mahoney told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “I felt bad for the little girls. It’s just sad.”
Among the alleged horrors, police said they noticed "a dead guinea pig in a cage, rotting food, animal feces and urine throughout the residence.”
Some rooms were allegedly knee-deep with trash and there was a smell emanating from the home.
All three adults in the home – the man who called police, his wife and his girlfriend – were all arrested. All are expected to be charged with three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty.
Hamilton reportedly tried to end her life and was taken to a hospital under the Baker Act, a Florida law allowing emergency mental health treatment, before being booked into jail Monday morning.
It’s not clear if any of the three have lawyers who can speak on their behalf at this time.
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