A 54-year-old man was arrested Thursday after police found his West Seattle home filled with more than 200 live animals, including dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas — Seattle Animal Shelter personnel said they found some of the worst conditions they’d ever seen.
An unknown number of dead animals were found in another house on the same property, in the 5000 block of 26th Avenue Southwest, according to Melissa Mixon, a spokesperson for the city of Seattle.
The man was arrested on investigation of first-degree animal cruelty and is being held in lieu of $7,500 bail, according to first appearance documents released by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Friday afternoon.
The Seattle Times generally does not name suspects until charges have been filed.
When police arrived at the West Seattle home Thursday afternoon, they found about 25 animals in small cages in the first room of the house, according to a Seattle Police Department report. Many of the animals didn’t have food or water in their cages, the report said. The man later told police he was planning to transport the animals to the East Coast soon.
As officers walked through the house, they found caged animals in every room and the floors covered with hay and animal feces, police said. The animals in the other house on the same property appeared to have died from lack of food, water and medical attention, police said.
“Seattle Animal Shelter Director Ann Graves described the scene in the homes as one of the most severe cases of animal neglect and cruelty she has seen in her 20-year career,” Mixon said in an emailed statement.
Mixon said the discovery and seizure of the animals was due to a vigilant community member who saw something wrong and reported it.
“It’s a reminder to all of us that animals don’t have a voice and that’s why it’s so important for us all to remain vigilant and help speak for them when something seems wrong,” she said.
The animals were taken to the Seattle Animal Shelter, where they are being assessed and treated.