According to the affidavit, when Vivas pressed Arnais to give up more dogs in May, Arnais told a mutual friend that Vivas was making a big deal out of the situation...She said that you would have thought she had 200 dogs when she only had 50 dogs.
When the rescuers, cops, and State Attorneys Office representatives went inside the townhouse Thursday, armed with a search warrant signed by Circuit Judge Ellen Venzer, they poured alcohol on their masks, trying to kill the stench, Zogby said.
I was 20 feet away from the door, and the smell was just unbearable.
Many of the dogs appeared to never leave the house, because of their long toenails, he added.
Dogs that walk on pavement have short nails, since pavement acts as a nail file.
There was waste everywhere, said Zogby. They were living in deplorable conditions...Theres no explaining this.
He told reporters that the couple werent in agreement that there was a crime. They said, What did we do wrong? They lived under these conditions as normal.
Its not clear if the couple was breeding animals for sale or simply collecting them, but they seem to fit the Hoarding Animals Research Consortiums profile.
The group defines a hoarder as someone with an unusual number of animals who cant provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death.
Hoarders also typically deny the inability to provide this minimum care, and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, and the human occupants of the home.
The consortium estimates that nearly 250,000 animals are victims of animal hoarding each year.
Rescue groups will try to rehabilitate the animals and place them for adoption. But some remained at the house with the suspects son, Alex, 26, who isnt a suspect.
Zogby said he was allowed to keep the fish, some of the turtles, and the hedgehog. At least two cats were also visible through a window at the townhouse Thursday afternoon, and a dog could be heard barking.
El Nuevo Herald reporter Esteban Illades contributed to this story.