HUNTINGTON -- Authorities found more than 100 exotic birds, mostly parrots and macaws, 20 cats and a dog in a Long Island building Wednesday in what were described as deplorable conditions.
The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office served an eviction notice at 391 West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington, a building that houses an Army Surplus Store and a residence.
When officials went inside the building, they discovered the animals.
"This is the ultimate nightmare," said Muriel Gluck, the animals' owner.
It's a nightmare even they couldn't live with anymore. Some of the birds had pulled out most of their feathers, and others were missing limbs.
The discovery was made during an eviction process, and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department realized they could never clear out this home on their own.
Soon, officers with breathing apparatus began a rescue of birds and dozens of cats. It took hours because of the filthy conditions inside.
"Just absolutely horrendous, not enough to be habitable by people or animals," said Chief Roy Gross, of the Suffolk County SPCA.
Yet Gluck and her sisters were living there for more than four decades. Animals weren't the only thing they were collecting, there was also piles and piles of junk.
"We lost it," Gluck said. "It was two women with the help of a third sister who just lost it."
Gluck says she and her siblings were living in the filth, but their family's problems made it too difficult to care for the animals.
"We became overwhelmed with the way our lives were derailed," Gluck said.
Authorities are waiting on veterinary reports to see if the owners should face criminal charges.
"The house is just a mess," Gross said. "It's bad, at the least, it's very bad."
They say the cats were in cages full of feces.
Several agencies responded, including the Suffolk County SPCA and the League for Animal Protection.
It remains unclear what the sisters were doing with the animals, which were found in both the store and the residence.
The investigation is ongoing.
The Suffolk County SPCA is seeking help from the public in the wake of the animal seizure, with Gross saying they need cash donations to care for the birds until permanent homes can be found for them and to help offset the cost of the rescue operation. Also, he said, "we would welcome donations of bird food and supplies to care for the birds."
Donations can be dropped off to the office of the Suffolk County SPCA, 725 Veteran's Memorial Hwy., Building 16, Hauppauge, NY 11788. All donations are tax deductible to the extend permitted by law. The Suffolk County SPCA , a 501(c)(3) not for profit, is funded only by donations.
To help treat or adopt one of these exotic birds or cats, please call Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722.
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