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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No one on the 900 block of Shunk Street could have imagined the strange case of animal hoarding that was uncovered Tuesday evening in South Philadelphia.
“Usually in hoarding, you might see a large number of cats, a large number of dogs, but just by the sheer variety of animals and the unusual things we’re seeing, this ranks up there as one of the more unusual cases we’ve ever seen,” explains Wendy Marano with the Pennsylvania SPCA.
One by one, the eclectic mix of animals were toted out the house, from which Marano says over two dozen animals were found — some alive, many dead.
“There are just really animals all over, in every room and hidden away and tucked behind mountains of trash.”
Then, the SPCA uncovered a real surprise.
“In addition to the dogs, the iguanas, the turtles and the roosters, our officers just recovered a 4-foot alligator,” Marano explained.
Residents had been complaining about the house for years. According to some neighbors, the stench permeating the neighborhood was nauseating.
“It could be five in the morning and you turn that corner and you would drop to your knees it stunk so much,” said Joe Gwin, a neighbor.
It wasn’t until a neighbor called 911 on the 61-year-old owner Tuesday morning that the SPCA could get involved.
“I come out this morning and he was standing on the corner naked. I called police, they called the SPCA and they finally got in,” Gwin said.
The homeowner has been charged with Animal Cruelty and the alligator will be handed over to a reptile specialist.
On the same day this South Philadelphia animal hoarding case was uncovered, the Delaware County SPCA is asking animal lovers to adopt 30 cats and a dog found at the home of an elderly couple on Monday. In that case, they say the woman had passed away and her husband was in the hospital, their health presumably impacted by the condition of their home.
Reported by Natasha Brown, CBS 3; Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio