It was an ugly scene earlier this week in Rockland County, NY as hundreds of sick and malnourished animals were removed from a home described as a "zoo from hell.”
Now, Robert Everle, the own of the animals, is facing charges he mistreated his menagerie, yet somehow he is still being allowed to keep the animals. Authorities say there may be 300 animals in all, but the sheer number makes it impossible to confiscate them all, so they'll monitor Everle's promise to better treat those left behind.
The 18 sickest animals are being treated by a veterinarian, including a ram, covered in a dirty coat of wool about a foot thick, that can barely stand and remains too sick to walk. But hundreds upon hundreds of birds and other creatures remain at the home.
Everle insists he treats the animals humanely, but state police and animal welfare officials tell a different story.
"They weren't just in the house, a lot of them were out pretty much exposed to the elements. I described it as a zoo from hell – many of the animals were outside in deplorable conditions," said Prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri. "To be blunt about it, when the wind shifted it was one of the worst things I've ever smelled."
Officials say they found cockfighting handbooks when they raided Everle's property, but Everle denies that allegation.
Everle faces two misdemeanor counts and has been ordered to improve conditions for his animals. Officials also got a court order permitting law enforcement to come here at any time without notice to check on the remaining animals.
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