• Children, 245 animals found in 'deplorable living conditions' at Florida home

    By: Kelly Healey, WFTV.com

    Updated:

    EDGEWATER, Fla. - Police found a disturbing sight Sunday when they performed a well-being check at an Edgewater home.

    Officers were called to the home to check on three children ages 8, 9 and 10, when they found 245 animals of various species housed on the property, a news release said.  

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    “It was immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly. The residence was in deplorable living conditions,” the release said.

    On the property, officers said they found four dogs, two cats, nine guinea pigs (1 dead), 12 rabbits, four hamsters, 10 sugar gliders, 14 birds, a gecko, a tortoise, a hedgehog, a bearded dragon, a leopard-spotted gecko, 95 mice, and 60 adult rats and 23 baby rats.

    “Officers observed a dead guinea pig in a cage, rotting food, animal feces and urine throughout the residence,” the release said.

    Melissa Hamilton, Greg Nelson and Susan Nelson were charged with three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty, police said.

     The animals were taken to the Edgewater Animal Shelter. The shelter is in need of donations, police said.

    The children were removed from the home by the Department of Children and Family and were placed in the custody of a family member.

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