Dozens of animals removed from Berwyn home

July 9, 2012 (BERWYN, Ill.)

Animal control workers went to the home and have taken away as many as they could capture.

The animals were then transported to a shelter in Cicero.

"They are talking horrendous conditions inside, with animal feces, multiple animals," said Denis O'Halloran, Berwyn Fire Chief.

At last count, Berwyn officials removed three dogs and 33 cats from the Berwyn home. The house was boarded up and traps were set to capture any animals that might still be inside. Those rescued are now in the care of Cicero's Waggin' Tails Animal Shelter.

"Some of them appear sickly according to animal control and the house is uninhabitable," said Commander Michael Cimaglia of the Berwyn police department.

Officials say it was the smell that led them to the home. The first complaint came in six months ago, but after last week's heat wave it just became to overpowering to ignore.

"I was outside here Saturday morning on my front porch and the police had been here going door to door asking about her and what might be going on," said neighbor Frank Feliciano.

While it appears the home had been the subject of neighborhood gossip for a while, no one we spoke to imagined the extent of the situation inside.

"A lot of times she had feral cats on her front porch and when it got real bad I just figured she had the cats going on her front porch," said mail carrier Gerry Ferguson.

"She likes animals," said neighbor Geri. "I didn't know she had that many in her house, I mean, but she cares about animals. She does. And if you saw the cats coming out, they're all plump, they're not starving."

Police and fire officials say they needed the homeowner's consent to go inside to look for probable cause, which they finally got Monday. The husband and wife who lived there were taken to the police station for questioning. A teenage daughter also lived in the home.

"There was a hoarding-type situation which we know is a mental health issue," O'Halloran said. "We are seeking to have female occupant seems to have issues. Get her most help we possibly can."

DCFS have been called to investigate because of the presence of a minor inside the home, and police say that charges could still be filed against the homeowners.

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